November 17, 2010

Mayor Sam Adams and representatives of the Portland region’s athletic and outdoor industry have released the results of the first comprehensive effort to understand the origins and interplay of the firms that comprise the industry throughout the Portland region and the state of Oregon. Business leaders joined the mayor, Portland Development Commission (PDC), Business Oregon and Oregon Business Council at the Athletic and Outdoor Industry Strategy Event, held Tuesday, November 16 at Sandbox Studio, 420 NE 9th Avenue, Portland, to celebrate the announcement of the industry study, discuss its findings, and launch the resulting action plan.

“This athletic and outdoor industry work represents an important component of the city’s strategy to create new jobs for Portland,” said Adams. “Portland is the home of the best brands in the industry, and I’m pleased to see such a strong public-private effort to further job growth in the A&O sector.”

“While we’re a competitive industry, the Portland region has a strong ethic of cooperation among athletic and outdoor companies,” said Lisa Thompson, president of Icebreaker USA. “We applaud the work that’s been done so far to define the industry, and look forward to collaborating with our competitors to grow the athletic and outdoor brand here.”

“Athletic & Outdoor, A Signature Industry for the Portland Region” is the result of several months of study, focus groups and round-table discussions with industry leaders. The work includes an infographic map illustrating the history of athletic and outdoor business in the region and its exponential growth in the past 10 years; and an industry-driven action plan for building on the region’s existing competitive strengths to grow industry employment.

Oregon’s athletic and outdoor industry, while based predominantly in the Portland area, employs more than 14,000 workers statewide; includes more than 700 firms with a payroll that in 2008 totaled nearly $1.2 billion; has average annual wages of more than $80,000; and includes as many as 3,200 self-employed people who generate sales revenues of more than $95 million.

The November 16 event featured remarks by Tim Boyle, CEO, Columbia Sportswear; Elliot Hill, Vice President and General Manager North America, Nike; and Paul Ehrlich, General Counsel and Vice President, Human Resources/Business Affairs, Adidas, as well as a panel discussion with industry experts Sue Parker, CEO, Frank Creative; Enrique Washington, President, Generator Group; Sean Beers, CEO, Korkers Products; and Mark Sandquist, President, Global Apparel and Accessories, Wolverine Worldwide. The mayor also introduced a brief video produced by PDC which summarized the study results.

The industry action plan focuses on leadership, talent, entrepreneurship and innovation, connection and advocacy, sustainability and branding as the cornerstones of future growth.

Partners in the Athletic and Outdoor Industry Study were PDC; Portland State University; University of Bern, Switzerland; and Impresa Economics.

The full report, action plan and other materials are available at