March 19, 2010
The first comprehensive directory of outdoor gear, footwear and apparel designers, manufacturers, vendors and suppliers specific to Oregon and southwest Washington debuted March 18 as an online publication, thanks to a public/private collaboration between the Portland Development Commission, Greenlight Greater Portland, the Oregon Business Development Department, Portland State University and the Oregon Business Council.
“The Activewear and Outdoor Gear Directory furthers our understanding of this critical industry and its potential as a source for significant job creation and economic growth in Oregon,” said Portland Mayor Sam Adams. “We hope it will also serve as a resource for workforce talent seeking opportunities in the metro region and the state.”
Leaders of regional activewear and gear companies were instrumental in the creation of the directory, which is one of the elements of the City of Portland’s job creation work. The activewear industry is identified in the Portland Economic Development Strategy as a critical driver of business and job growth in the metropolitan region. The directory represents a collaborative effort to support Portland and Oregon’s lead position as a hub of the outdoor gear and apparel industry. The Portland region, population 2.2.million, is home to international industry giants Nike, Columbia Sportswear and Adidas America, as well as more than 4,500 one- and two-person gear and apparel businesses.
“The directory is an important first step in filling the gap between sharing ideas and healthy competition,” says Russ Hopcus, president of outdoor clothing producer Icebreaker. “It’s adding to our collective understanding of the industry – and supports Portland’s position as a leading city for activewear design, testing and innovation.”
Frances Bronet, Dean of the School of Architecture and Allied Arts at the University of Oregon, applauded the launch of the directory as well. “The University of Oregon is focused on providing our students with both an ambitious education and resources that will help them succeed beyond the university. This comprehensive listing of activewear firms provides visibility for the industry, its scope and local talent, and serves as an excellent starting point for students to explore opportunities for internships and employment,” she said.
The directory is intended to be a living document that will be updated periodically. Industry members are invited to comment on the beta version of the directory, currently posted at http://pdxactivewear.com.