The Central Eastside Urban Renewal Area is a 708.5 acre subdistrict of Portland’s Central City along the east bank of the Willamette River, which is zoned primarily for industrial and employment land uses. Historically businesses in the district consisted primarily of industrial services, warehousing and distribution, and manufacturing. Over the years and with increasing land values, some of these businesses have begun to migrate to other areas with larger development parcels and better access to the regional transportation network. At the same time, the nature of industry in the U.S. has expanded as new technologies helped grow knowledge- and industrial design-focused firms.
Today, the CES houses more than 1,100 businesses and 17,000 jobs. The district juxtaposes industrial uses with creative businesses and is an emerging location of choice for cross-industry exchange, from film, digital and creative services to food and craft makers. While employment decreased in other Central City areas during the economic downtown, this district flourished, in part due to a growing presence by Portland’s traded sector industries.
The area’s evolution as an attractive site for a variety of businesses can be attributed to its unique collection of historic industrial buildings, space affordability, and centralized location adjacent to Portland’s business core. The district is considered a key employment center for the Central City, and urban renewal efforts are focused on creating and maintaining jobs in the area through business development assistance and redevelopment financing.