Silicon Forest is a nickname for the cluster of high-tech companies located in the Portland metropolitan area in the U.S. state of Oregon, and most frequently refers to the industrial corridor between Beaverton and Hillsboro in northwest Oregon.
The name is analogous to Silicon Valley. In the greater Portland area, these companies have traditionally specialized in hardware — specifically test-and-measurement equipment (Tektronix), computer chips (Intel and an array of smaller chip manufacturers), electronic displays (InFocus, Planar and Pixelworks) and printers (Hewlett-Packard Co, Xerox and Epson). There is a small clean technology emphasis in the area.
Silicon Forest can refer to all the technology companies in Oregon, but initially referred to Washington County on Portland’s west side. First used in a Japanese company’s press release dating to 1981, Lattice Semiconductor trademarked the term in 1984 but does not use the term in its marketing materials. Lattice’s founder is sometimes mentioned as the person who came up with the term.
The high-tech industry in the Portland area dates back to at least the 1940s, with Tektronix and Electro Scientific Industries as pioneers. Tektronix and ESI both started out in Portland proper, but moved to Washington County in 1951 and 1962, respectively, and developed sites designed to attract other high-tech companies. Floating Point Systems, co-founded by three former Tektronix employees in Beaverton in 1970, was the first spin-off company in Silicon Forest and the third (after Tek and ESI) to be traded on the NYSE. These three companies, and later Intel, led to the creation of a number of other spin-offs and startups, some of which were remarkably successful. A 2003 dissertation on these spin-offs led to a poster depicting the genealogy of 894 Silicon Forest companies. High-tech employment in the state reached a peak of almost 73,000 in 2001, but has never recovered from the dot-com bust. Statewide, tech employment totaled 57,000 in the spring of 2012.
Unlike other regions with a "silicon" appellation, semiconductors truly are the heart of Oregon's tech industry.
Intel's headquarters remain in Santa Clara, California, but in the 1990s the company began moving its most advanced technical operations to Oregon. Its Ronler Acres campus eventually became its most advanced anywhere, and Oregon is now Intel's largest operating hub. As of late 2012, Intel has close to 17,000 employees in Oregon—more than anywhere else the company operates.
Companies and subsidiaries
The following is a sample of past and present notable companies in the Silicon Forest. They may have been founded in the Silicon Forest or have a major subsidiary there. A list of Portland tech startups (technology companies founded in Portland) is provided separately.
- Amazon Web Services (via acquisition of Elemental Technologies)
- Ambric (acquired by Nethra Imaging in April 2009)
- Apple Inc. (Software Engineering in Vancouver, WA. This was previously the Claris products group)
- Arris Group (via acquisition of C-COR)
- Autodesk Inc
- Cambia Health Solutions (HealthSparq, Wellero, Hubbub, and SpendWell)
- Cascade Microtech
- CD Baby
- Consumer Cellular
- Electro Scientific Industries
- Thermo Fisher Scientific (via acquisition of FEI Company)
- FLIR Systems
- GemStone Systems
- Grass Valley
- IBM (by acquisition of Sequent)
- Integra Telecom
- IP Fabrics
- Jaguar Land Rover
- Jive Software
- Kryptiq Corporation
- Lam Research (through merging with Novellus Systems)
- Lattice Semiconductor
- Lightspeed Systems
- Linear Technology
- Maxim Integrated Products
- Mentor Graphics
- New Relic (Engineering Headquarters)
- Nike, Inc. (Consumer Digital Division)
- Nvidia Corporation
- NuScale Power
- OpenSesame Inc
- ON Semiconductor
- Oracle Corporation (by acquisition of Sun Microsystems)
- Panic Software
- Phoseon Technology
- Planar Systems
- Pop Art, Inc.
- RadiSys Corporation
- Rohde & Schwarz
- Rockwell Collins
- Sage Software (by the acquisition of Timberline)
- Sensory, Inc.
- Sharp Corporation
- Silicon Labs
- Shimadzu Corp.
- Urban Airship
- Vernier Software & Technology
- WaferTech (TSMC subsidiary)
- Welch Allyn
- BiiN (defunct)
- Central Point Software (defunct)
- ClearEdge Power
- Etec Systems, Inc. (acquired by Applied Materials)
- Floating Point Systems (defunct)
- Fujitsu (factory closed)
- MathStar (defunct)
- Merix Corporation (acquired by Viasystems)
- Microsoft's Surface Hub R&D (closed down)
- NEC (factory closed)
- Open Source Development Labs (defunct)
- Oregon Graduate Institute (merged with OHSU in 2001; Washington County campus closed in 2014)
- Sequent Computer Systems (purchased by IBM in 1993) Sequent, founded by a team that included three Intel VPs and 15 other employees, also mostly from Intel, made a major contribution to multiprocessing and was largely responsible for the demise of large minicomputers, which could be replaced by much smaller and cheaper micro-processor-based multiprocessor systems. It went public in 1987 and was beginning to also encroach on the market for large mainframe transaction processing systems when IBM bought it out.
- Alpern, Peter (Oct 4, 2010). "Portland Cultivates Future as Hub for Manufacturing Alternative Energy". IndustryWeek. Archived from the original on 30 October 2010. Retrieved 30 November 2011.
- Rogoway, Mike (April 9, 2006). Bizz blog: Silicon Forest. The Oregonian.
- Manaton, Michael E. (August 4, 1994). "Tektronix began 'Silicon Forest' boom". The Oregonian (MetroWest edition).
- G.B. Dodds, C.E. Wollner & M.M. Lee, The Silicon Forest, Oregon Historical Society Press, 1990, p 46-55.
- "Silicon Forest Universe". Portland State University: The Institute for Portland Metropolitan Studies. Retrieved 2010-06-28.
- "Investment in Oregon tech companies heats up, but employment hasn't bounced back". The Oregonian. July 26, 2012.
- "Intel makes a bet on the future, and Oregon, with massive Hillsboro expansion". The Oregonian. October 24, 2012.
- "Largest Software Technology Companies in the Portland Metro Area". Portland Business Journal. 9 August 2018. Text "https://www.bizjournals.com/portland/subscriber-only/2018/08/09/largest-software-technology-companies.html" ignored (help);
- Rogoway, Mike (September 2010). "Silicon Forest 25 - 2010" (PDF). The Oregonian. Retrieved 2010-09-20.
- Cathy Cheney (November 26, 2014). "Cool Spaces: Inside eBay's growing Portland office, which has a personality all its own". Portland Business Journal. Retrieved 2015-03-22.
- About Epson Portland Inc. Archived 2007-10-07 at the Wayback Machine. Epson Portland Inc. Retrieved on October 8, 2007.
- Rogoway, Mike (2010-04-05). "Genentech opens in Hillsboro, fueling Oregon's biotech aspirations". The Oregonian. Retrieved 2010-06-19.
- Tims, Dana (December 8, 2005). "Metro West Neighbors: Emerging suburb built on silicon". The Oregonian. p. 9.
- Suh, Elizabeth (October 28, 2007). "Intel's impact on community helps other businesses thrive". The Oregonian.
- "A look inside Jaguar Land Rover's Portland research lab". Oregon Live. Apr 12, 2015.
- "Kryptiq sets move as it adds employees". The Oregonian. June 15, 2010.
- "Laika's place in the Silicon Forest <i>(updated)</i>". The Oregonian. May 17, 2006.
- Rogoway, Mike (2013-07-18). "Mozilla will expand Portland office, add staff and lease its own space". The Oregonian. Retrieved 2015-08-03.
- Rogoway, Mike (2010-05-14). "Chip manufacturers plan to grow, Hillsboro rebounds: Silicon Forest week in review". The Oregonian. Retrieved 2010-06-20.
- The Oregonian (March 12, 2010). "2010 Oregon Technology Awards finalists named". The Oregonian. Retrieved 14 March 2010.
- Siemers, Erik (November 29, 2011). "Google, Cisco, VMware invest $8.5M in Puppet Labs". Portland Business Journal. Retrieved 30 November 2011.
-  Sharp Laboratories of America
-  USA Today. Retrieved on April 14, 2016
-  Wall St. Daily. Retrieved November 12, 2011
- Venture Capitalists loosen purse strings for startups Portland Business Journal. Retrieved on July 23, 2010
- Rogoway, Mike (2017-07-27). "Vevo, music video titan, grows Portland engineering outpost". The Oregonian.
- Kosseff, Jeffrey (May 14, 2002). "Xerox's Wilsonville unit continues to make strides". The Oregonian. p. C1.
- Yahoo! to open customer service center in Hillsboro. KATU. Retrieved on October 8, 2007.
- Siemers, Erik (December 18, 2009). "ClearEdge hums along". Portland Business Journal. Retrieved 18 February 2010.
- Read, Richard (March 7, 2004). "Racing the world". The Oregonian.
- "Microsoft to close Wilsonville plant, lay off 124 workers". OregonLive. 11 July 2017.
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