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Our Work

Cluster Development

As the city’s economic development agency, the Portland Development Commission supports the business community and encourages job creation by focusing on key industry clusters of pivotal importance to the city’s current and future economy.

Targeted clusters

An industry cluster is a group of geographically concentrated, inter-related firms. Companies that locate in a cluster benefit from a skilled labor force, increased innovation, coordinated advocacy efforts, high-quality supply chains, and knowledge spillover. Clusters interact in ways that establish competitive advantages through the creation and incorporation of new knowledge into products and the processes that produce them. PDC understands the importance of building strong clusters, and that’s why we support initiatives that strengthen cooperation and competitive advantages for Portland companies. 

PDC targets clusters that are part of the traded sector, meaning that they sell to markets outside the region, bringing new money into the community.

By focusing on clusters PDC can:

  • Deploy limited resources in a strategic and catalytic fashion.
  • Develop a deep understanding of factors influencing competitiveness.
  • Interact with groups of firms rather than conduct isolated transactions.
  • Facilitate industry-led innovation and interventions. 
  • Foster the alignment of resources among regional and state partners.

Objectives for Organizing Portland Clusters

  • Convene critical players in cluster eco-system.
  • Develop detailed market analyses for each cluster defining actual market opportunities.
  • Develop and implement industry-driven action plans
  • Create self-sustaining momentum within clusters

PDC’s Targeted Clusters

PDC focuses staff and resources on the following industry concentrations:

PDC focuses resources on these clusters because:

  • They are traded sector, meaning they sell goods outside the region, bringing new money into Portland.
  • The region hosts a concentration of talent or firms
  • The industry is high growth
  • Industry firms which locate in Portland have a competitive advantage over firms in other cities.
  • These clusters pay high wages

A Five Year Strategy for Economic Growth & Job Creation

In July 2009, Portland City Council approved the city’s Economic Development Strategy, a five-year plan to guide Portland’s economic growth and direct the investment necessary to complete the transformation of Portland’s economy. The city seeks to build the most sustainable economy in the U.S. and, in the process, create 10,000 new jobs. PDC’s cluster work supports the Economic Development Strategy’s first goal of maximizing competitiveness. For more information about the Strategy and targeted clusters, visit pdxeconomicdevelopment.com.