The sell-out state

| Print |  Email
Articles - Jan/Feb 2012
Thursday, January 19, 2012

 

0112_SelloutState_08
Founded in Portland in 2006, Kettleman’s sold in November 2011 to the national restaurant group that operates Noah’s New York Bagels.
// Photo by Alexandra Shyshkina

As Oregon tries to dig out from the recession, there are signs that some of the social and economic conditions that affect Oregon M&A activity may be changing: new laws expediting permitting of companies on industrial land, a burgeoning activewear industry cluster, and passage of education reform legislation to begin shoring up state universities.

The Oregon Innovation Council recently awarded $1.2 million to a new collaborative, Drive Oregon, intended to commercialize electric vehicles. “The only way to do it in a small state is to recognize you’re small and you need to work together and pool your resources,” says Chen.

Meanwhile, ESCO and Erickson AirCrane may end the Oregon IPO drought, and among the new generation of companies and entrepreneurs, especially in the tech community. Portland-based Puppet Labs, which develops IT automation software, and Urban Airship, a mobile software developer also in Portland, are actually getting big. The latter’s transformation from unemployment benefit-funded startup to a 600% annual growth rate already is becoming the stuff of 
legend.

“There’s nothing in their DNA saying: ‘I’m going to be a nice little Oregon company. They’re world-class,” says Diane Fraiman, a partner at Voyager Capital, based in Portland and Seattle, about this new generation.

Maybe Urban Airship, which launched in 2009 and has since attracted about $26 million in investment capital, will become the next Mentor Graphics. Then again, such companies may still be swimming against the tide. As a growing number of commentators have noted, the entrepreneurial ethos is becoming a hallmark of our era.

“Generation Y is born to start up,” proclaimed Fast Company in November. If that’s the case, Oregon is on the frontlines. Writing in a recent New York Times essay, Portland author William Deresiewicz described the region as an epicenter for “Generation Sell,” in which “today’s ideal social form is not the commune or the movement or even the individual creator as such; it’s the small business.”

Deifying innovative locally owned small businesses put Oregon on the global map. But the region’s love of the new idea, and its acquisition and scaling by outsiders, has also become something of a metaphor. If we don’t figure out how to keep and grow more of our innovation — be it in coffee, clean tech, or urban planning — the region’s unique topography may just disappear.

Linda Baker is the managing editor of Oregon Business. She can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .



 

Comments   

 
Juvenal Goldstein
0 #1 DiasporaJuvenal Goldstein 2012-01-23 10:46:40
Oregon is a hostile business environment and Portland is a branch office town.
Quote | Report to administrator
 

More Articles

100 Best Green Workplaces in Oregon

June 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY KIM MOORE

As momentum grows at the state level to introduce far-reaching environmental regulations, such as carbon pricing and the Clean Fuels Program, Oregon employers continue to go the extra mile to create green workplaces for their employees.


Read more...

The 5 highest revenue-generating parks in Oregon

The Latest
Thursday, June 11, 2015
parksthumbBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

In 2014, total revenue for camping and day use in Oregon State Parks was a little more than $17 million. That figure may even higher this year "because we've had exceptionally nice weather," Hughes says.


Read more...

Oregon businesses face destruction from future earthquake

The Latest
Wednesday, May 20, 2015
htctthumb1BY KIM MOORE | RESEARCH EDITOR

An earthquake would completely destroy many Oregon businesses, highlighting the urgent need for the private and public sectors to collaborate on shoring up disaster preparedness, said panelists at an Oregon Business breakfast summit today.


Read more...

Up in the Air

June 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY ANNIE ELLISON

Portland tech veteran Ben Berry is leaving his post as Portland’s chief technology officer for a full-time role producing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) aimed at first responders and the military. Berry’s AirShip Technologies Group is poised to be on the ground floor of an industry that will supply drones to as many as 100,000 police, fire and emergency agencies nationwide. He reveals the plan for takeoff.


Read more...

Modern design defines new Portland indoor market

The Latest
Thursday, June 25, 2015
thumbSnøhetta JBPM exterior www mir noBY KIM MOORE | RESEARCH EDITOR

An international architecture firm known for its design of the National September 11 Memorial Museum Pavilion in New York unveiled its plan this week for a modern indoor/outdoor food market at the foot of the Morrison Bridge in downtown Portland.


Read more...

Stemming the tide of money in politics

Linda Baker
Wednesday, June 10, 2015
 jeff-lang-2012-thumbBY LINDA BAKER

Jeff Lang and his wife Rae used to dole out campaign checks like candy.  “We were like alcoholics,” Lang says. ”We couldn’t just give a little.”


Read more...

Cherry Raincoat

June 2015
Tuesday, May 26, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER

Spring rains are the bane of an Oregon cherry farmer’s existence. Even a few sprinkles can crack the fruit so badly it’s not worth picking. Science to the rescue: Researchers at Oregon State University have developed a spray-on film that cuts rain-related cracking in half, potentially saving a season’s crop. The coating, patented as SureSeal, is made from natural chemicals similar to those found in the skins of cherries: cellulose, palm oil-based wax and calcium.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS