Brand Story - Forest Grove is open for business and offers great opportunities, please come explore.
That is the message Jeffrey King wants to convey to all residents of Greater Portland. King, the economic development manager for the City of Forest Grove, says the city he has served for 16 years is coming into its own — especially as pandemic restrictions ease — and is ripe for families, entrepreneurs looking to start and locate a business and those desiring to work from home farther away from Oregon’s heavily trafficked, biggest urban center. “And the lifestyle quality is all here, too,” he says.
Among the attractions are creative boutiques, a historic downtown and food from all over the world, as well as staples like bars, grills and bistros. It also offers ethnic and cultural diversity, hiking, biking, fishing, outdoor events, world-class higher education, wineries, breweries and even a place specializing in sake. A food-cart pod with 10 carts recently opened and McMenamins Grand Lodge is a unique resort-like hotel. The list goes on.
King touts the city’s excellent broadband and a comprehensive fiber optic cable network that ensures working from home without wi-fi interruptions.
Telvet Coffee provides an ideal place for working outside the office.
Some folks have been getting the message. Up until the start of the pandemic in March 2020, Forest Grove added 900 jobs to its employment rolls in a five-year period. At a population a bit shy of 26,000, Forest Grove is in the top 10 of Oregon’s fastest growing cities with populations greater than 5,000. This growth along with contributing factors like lower rent and utility prices, available land and space and fewer regulations required to open a business mean great opportunities to open or expand a small business.
Companies and individuals have been investing in Forest Grove, and the city would like to see more of it.
Chaucer Foods, a $20 million company that manufactures products like dehydrated fruits and vegetables in foods such as cereals, smoothies and snacks, is headquartered in Forest Grove. So, too, is MGC Pure Chemicals America, known for its ultra-pure cleaning products.
And on the quainter side, King points to Pink Spoon, a frozen-yogurt shop that includes homemade products in its sweets; Ridgewalker Brewing Company with more than 30 microbrews and other beverages on tap; and SakéOne, which hosts tastings of its Oregon- and Japanese-made rice wines, sake and shochu.
Pink Spoon Frozen Yogurt’s delectable array of toppings
King also calls out Casa Qui,a new retail business incubator program of the non-profit Adelante Mujeres, which succeeds in showcasing Forest Grove’s diversity.
About one-quarter of the city’s population is Latinx, and Forest Grove’s specialty restaurants highlight other prominent groups that call the city home.
Mexican food abounds, as do opportunities for Thai, Asian-fusion, Japanese, southern BBQ, a European bistro, breads fermented from wild sourdough, and Hawai’ian cuisine.
Phil Carow, a long-term resident of Forest Grove, owns a sandwich shop in town and is bullish on Forest Grove. He also opened Blackdog Bar and Grill that features steaks, BBQ and other classic entrées. “Forest Grove is a great city with a high quality of life.”
Pacific University, located adjacent to the city center, is the oldest independent university west of the Mississippi River. It attracts a significant number of students from Hawai’i, King says.
King says that within the city’s nearly six square miles, there are four historic districts, including one in the city’s walkable downtown. They are primarily residential and also home to a number of thriving small businesses. A few special properties are on the National Register of Historic Places. For example, dating to the late-1850s is the Stephen and Parthena M. Blank house in the Greek Revival style.
Guidetti’s Marketplace offers a wide assortment of imported food, kitchen and home goods.
Daniela Powell, of Daniela’s Gifts on Main, says her relatively new boutique in a building constructed in 1891 is a showstopper inside and out. “At the weekends, Forest Grove is definitely a destination, with 50% of my customers coming from out of town to shop, wine-taste and eat at our vast selection of restaurants. I am super happy to be located where we are.”
Christie Blake, who owns Biscuitology and whose breakfast foods are “made with love and butter,” loves her new location in Forest Grove.
“Forest Grove was the perfect opportunity for us to open Biscuitology,” Blake says, adding she likes the small-town vibe, with lots of friendly smiles and business support.
Twenty-five miles from Portland, Forest Grove has natural amenities even closer than Oregon’s most-populous city. Hagg Lake, for outdoor enthusiasts, is next door, while Storey Burn, an intermediate hiking and biking trail, is within Tillamook State Forest.
To drive the point home, King says bike amenities abound in Forest Grove, such as businesses that offer freestanding bike parking and repair stations. This includes Pacific University, which has its own bike pavilion. (If you prefer green transportation and want to visit Portland from your new, less crowded home, TriMet has frequent bus service to and from the Rose City.) King emphasizes that some Portland-area residents still worry that if they were to relocate to Forest Grove, they would have to curb the urban lifestyle they love. Not so, says King.
Trendy items like avocado toast, boba tea, ramen and fried chicken on biscuits all can be found in Forest Grove. “You’re not sacrificing urban living here,” King says.
Brand stories are paid content articles that allow Oregon Business advertisers to share news about their organizations and engage with readers on business and public policy issues. The stories are produced in house by the Oregon Business marketing department. For more information, contact associate publisher Courtney Kutzman.