Sports activities, outside exercise industries see financial development in Portland, OR


PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – As companies steer away from the pandemic, some industries are seeing growth with no sign of stopping.

The latest study from the Portland Business Alliance examined the economic impact of industries such as athletics, outdoors, teams and leisure – and their strength in the Portland metro area and Eugene and Bend.

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Despite the pandemic, many are thriving in these industries.

From catching a game at the Moda Center to renting a kayak on the Willamette, outdoor areas, athletics, teams and recreation in the larger Metro are seeing continued economic growth even as the state makes strides after two years of the pandemic.

“There’s no question we’ve faced a lot of challenges, but what’s incredible about this region is that we’re resilient, we’re recovering and we’re here to tell a story that we’re going to recover this way, by doing doubling down on the assets we believe in through the things that are our strength,” said Andrew Hoan, President and CEO of the Portland Business Alliance.

The Portland Business Alliance worked with HR&AAdvisors to examine where companies in these industries — some of the strongest in the state — stand before and after the pandemic. They found most activity in areas like sporting goods and apparel, athletics and outdoor recreation, along with a trickle-down effect to services like fabric factories, marketing and even physical therapy – and why they do so well here.

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“Their continued appeal to the region because of the talent base that’s here, because of the education systems that are here, because of the quality of life that’s here,” said Kate Collignon, a partner at HR&AAdvisors. “It’s going to be really important to maintain those kinds of competitive advantages that the region offers.”

Prior to the pandemic, companies in the Portland area and Eugene and Bend saw job growth of at least 56%, with most being in goods and apparel, while others started strong but slowed after 2020.

“The big drop has been in events and leisure, really the types of uses that have been hit the hardest by closures and the need for social distancing,” Collignon said. “The rest of the industry has really already recovered and is seeing a new generation of jobs, so the recovery of those leisure uses that we expect will come back but still need that support.”

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The report also found that compared to other cities in the region that excel in these industries, such as Seattle, Salt Lake City and Denver, Portland has a more even distribution of jobs and more high-skill, high-paying positions with executives such as Nike, Adidas and Columbia Sportswear.

“What we design carries the world, and we have to tell that story not only to ourselves and assume that people know about it, but also to the people who need to know about it,” Hoan said. “Future workers, future households, prospective businesses and investors need to be aware that this is the unprecedented asset of this ecosystem, this economy.”

The State of Sport 2022 also found that more than $976 million in tax revenue came to Portland, and on the jobs front, the regional workforce is growing at six times the national average.