|Three decades of wins and losses for Oregon business||| Print ||
Page 1 of 6
Story by Ben Jacklet
A lot has changed in Oregon business over the past 30 years. And it isn’t just the bushy moustaches, the plaid slacks or the ads for new-fangled gizmos like the $13,385 Durango F-85 desktop computer, a futuristic machine able to “do all your accounting, maintain inventory control, perform job costing, sales analysis and much more!”
In 1981, Oregon had eight publicly traded wood products companies: Georgia Pacific, Louisiana Pacific, Willamette Industries, Pope & Talbot, Alpine, Bohemia, Dant & Russell and Medford Corp. It was a formidable group led by Georgia Pacific, a $5.4 billion business and the largest timber company in the world. Willamette and L-P also topped a billion dollars in annual sales. The state hummed with mills.
Georgia Pacific was the first to leave, departing for Atlanta in 1982. Then Alpine and Dant & Russell folded. Next, Texas millionaire Harold Simmons bought Medford Corp. in a hostile takeover. Willamette bought Bohemia in 1991, only to be bought in a hostile takeover by Weyerhaeuser, based in Washington, in 2002. Louisiana Pacific left Portland for Nashville in 2004. That left Pope & Talbot, which declared bankruptcy in 2008.
It isn’t just the timber industry that has seen seismic shifts. After Georgia Pacific left, the top six Oregon-based public companies were the utility PacifiCorp, the retailer Fred Meyer, the tech giant Tektronix, U.S. Bancorp, and L-P and Willamette. These companies employed a combined 85,000 people in 1986. Not one survives as an Oregon-based business today.
In 1982, FLIR Systems was a struggling startup looking for investors. Wieden+Kennedy was an untested ad shop with one client. Leatherman Tool Group was an idea in the making. Tripwire, Ziba Design, New Seasons Market, Laika, HemCon, Gerding Edlen, WellPartner, Jive Software and Puppet Labs did not exist. Intel was a fairly minor employer in Oregon.
Not all of the changes have been dramatic. It is a little disconcerting to be reminded how many of Oregon’s “next big things” have been next big things for 30 years and counting, including wood pellet stoves, biomass energy and solar power. Thirty-year-old headlines like “Timber companies await recovery,” “Hope springs eternal in real estate market,” “Turning downtowns around” and “Bringing Oregon into the big leagues,” could just as well have been written last week. Chances are they will still apply 30 years from now. But history reminds us that you never know what will happen.
|Powerball jackpot hits new record|
|5.1-magnitude quake hits eastern Canada|
|How a Seattle school launched Bill Gates career|
|Windows Phone surpasses Blackberry|
|Kim Dotcom doesn't want 3D gun plans on Mega's servers|
|David Beckham retires from soccer|
|ODB, Eazy-E holograms to perform|
|Will this startup succeed?|
|The STEM shortage|
|Combined Transport keeps on trucking|
|Farm futures: private equity goes organic|
|Food cart owner Nong balances life, work and play|
|Celly launches its DIY network|
|What is driving the cost of health care? |
Oregon Business magazine's 5th annual
100 Best Green Companies to Work For in Oregon
Wednesday, May 29, 2013
From Oregon Translational Research and Development Institute: OTRADI today announced its plans to open and operate a 13,000 square-foot multi-tenant bioscience complex in the Willamette Wharf building at 4640 SW Macadam Avenue. Slated to be complete in spring 2013, the OTRADI Bioscience Incubator (OBI) will house up to six companies.
MEDIAmerica, publisher of Oregon Business and Oregon Home magazines, announces a new retail website: HalfOffOregon.com. The website offers lodging, dining, recreation and many other items at half off their regular cost.
As you probably know by now, The Vernon Company is a national leader in the promotional products industry with annual sales of over $60 million. We are a family owned business, led by the fourth generation of the Vernon family.