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Silicon Forest

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Intel's Ronler Acres campus in Hillsboro, Oregon

Silicon Forest is a nickname for the Washington County 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 Systems and Pixelworks) and printers (Hewlett-Packard Co, Xerox and Epson). There is a small clean technology emphasis in the area.[1]


Mentor (A Siemens Business) headquarters in Wilsonville

Silicon Forest can refer to all the technology companies in Oregon,[2] 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.[2] Lattice’s founder is sometimes mentioned as the person who came up with the term.[2]

The high-tech industry in the Portland area dates back to at least the 1940s, with Tektronix and Electro Scientific Industries as pioneers.[3] 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.[3] 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.[4] 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.[5] 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.[6]

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. In late 2012, Intel had close to 17,000 employees in Oregon—more than anywhere else the company operated;[7] by 2022, the number had grown to about 22,000.[8]

Companies and subsidiaries[edit]

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.


Genentech facility in Hillsboro


Former SolarWorld US headquarters in Hillsboro, which closed in 2017 and was later used by SunPower, until 2021

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Alpern, Peter (October 4, 2010). "Portland Cultivates Future as Hub for Manufacturing Alternative Energy". IndustryWeek. Archived from the original on October 30, 2010. Retrieved November 30, 2011.
  2. ^ a b c Rogoway, Mike (April 9, 2006). Bizz blog: Silicon Forest. The Oregonian.
  3. ^ a b Manaton, Michael E. (August 4, 1994). "Tektronix began 'Silicon Forest' boom". The Oregonian (MetroWest edition).
  4. ^ G.B. Dodds, C.E. Wollner & M.M. Lee, The Silicon Forest, Oregon Historical Society Press, 1990, pp. 46-55.
  5. ^ "Silicon Forest Universe". Portland State University: The Institute for Portland Metropolitan Studies. Retrieved June 28, 2010.
  6. ^ Rogoway, Mike (July 26, 2012). "Investment in Oregon tech companies heats up, but employment hasn't bounced back". The Oregonian.
  7. ^ Rogoway, Mike (October 25, 2012). "Intel makes a bet on the future, and Oregon, with massive Hillsboro expansion". The Oregonian.
  8. ^ Davidson, Kate (March 15, 2022). "Oregon's largest private employer, Intel, announces plans to expand in Europe". OPB. Archived from the original on March 16, 2022. Retrieved March 19, 2022.
  9. ^ "ADTRAN Acquires SmartRG—Leading Provider of Connected Home Software Platforms & Cloud Services". December 18, 2018. Retrieved September 15, 2019.
  10. ^ Rogoway, Mike (May 30, 2018). "Apple quietly opens Oregon engineering lab, poaches from Intel". The Oregonian. Retrieved September 15, 2019.
  11. ^ a b c d Rogoway, Mike (September 2010). "Silicon Forest 25 - 2010" (PDF). The Oregonian. Retrieved September 20, 2010.
  12. ^ Cathy Cheney (November 26, 2014). "Cool Spaces: Inside eBay's growing Portland office, which has a personality all its own". Portland Business Journal. Retrieved March 22, 2015.
  13. ^ About Epson Portland Inc. Archived October 7, 2007, at the Wayback Machine Epson Portland Inc. Retrieved on October 8, 2007.
  14. ^ "Expensify - Preaccounting & Spend Management Software". Expensify - Expense Management.
  15. ^ Spencer, Malia (August 25, 2017). "Why Expensify Picked Portland". Portland Business Journal.
  16. ^ Rogoway, Mike (April 5, 2010). "Genentech opens in Hillsboro, fueling Oregon's biotech aspirations". The Oregonian. Retrieved June 19, 2010.
  17. ^ a b Tims, Dana (December 8, 2005). "Metro West Neighbors: Emerging suburb built on silicon". The Oregonian. p. 9.
  18. ^ Suh, Elizabeth (October 28, 2007). "Intel's impact on community helps other businesses thrive". The Oregonian.
  19. ^ Rogoway, Mike (April 12, 2015). "A look inside Jaguar Land Rover's Portland research lab". OregonLive.
  20. ^ Rogoway, Mike (June 15, 2010). "Kryptiq sets move as it adds employees". The Oregonian.
  21. ^ "Kyocera opens $10M Vancouver facility". The Columbian. April 20, 2017. Retrieved September 15, 2019.
  22. ^ Rogoway, Mike (May 17, 2006). "Laika's place in the Silicon Forest". The Oregonian.
  23. ^ Rogoway, Mike (July 18, 2013). "Mozilla will expand Portland office, add staff and lease its own space". The Oregonian. Retrieved August 3, 2015.
  24. ^ Rogoway, Mike (January 27, 2021). "Microsoft poaches Intel VP for big new Hillsboro engineering site". The Oregonian. Retrieved June 20, 2021.
  25. ^ Rogoway, Mike (May 14, 2010). "Chip manufacturers plan to grow, Hillsboro rebounds: Silicon Forest week in review". The Oregonian. Retrieved June 20, 2010.
  26. ^ The Oregonian (March 12, 2010). "2010 Oregon Technology Awards finalists named". The Oregonian. Retrieved March 14, 2010.
  27. ^ Siemers, Erik (November 29, 2011). "Google, Cisco, VMware invest $8.5M in Puppet Labs". Portland Business Journal. Retrieved November 30, 2011.
  28. ^ "Apple lawsuit against chipmaking startup Rivos alleges theft of trade secrets". SiliconANGLE. May 2, 2022. Retrieved December 30, 2022.
  29. ^ "About SEH America". Retrieved September 15, 2019.
  30. ^ "Locations". Sharp Laboratories of America.[permanent dead link]
  31. ^ Malcolm, Hadley (December 14, 2015). "Wow: Banking with no branches, no fees, handwritten thank-yous". USA Today. Retrieved April 14, 2016.
  32. ^ "Skyworks - Home". skyworksinc.com.
  33. ^ Fritz, Justin (November 8, 2011). "Why App Developers Are Hitching a Ride on Urban Airship". Wall St. Daily. Retrieved November 12, 2011.
  34. ^ "Vape-Jet". vape-jet.com. Retrieved October 18, 2020.
  35. ^ Venture Capitalists loosen purse strings for startups Portland Business Journal. Retrieved on July 23, 2010
  36. ^ Rogoway, Mike (July 27, 2017). "Vevo, music video titan, grows Portland engineering outpost". The Oregonian.
  37. ^ Kosseff, Jeffrey (May 14, 2002). "Xerox's Wilsonville unit continues to make strides". The Oregonian. p. C1.
  38. ^ Siemers, Erik (December 18, 2009). "ClearEdge hums along". Portland Business Journal. Retrieved February 18, 2010.
  39. ^ a b Read, Richard (March 7, 2004). "Racing the world". The Oregonian.
  40. ^ Rogoway, Mike (May 1, 2018). "Jive Software: A Cautionary Tale". The Oregonian.
  41. ^ Marum, Anna (July 11, 2017). "Microsoft to close Wilsonville plant, lay off 124 workers". OregonLive.
  42. ^ a b Pursinger, Geoff (October 15, 2018). "Here comes the sun: SunPower takes over SolarWorld plant". Portland Tribune. Retrieved March 19, 2022.
  43. ^ Rogoway, Mike (January 7, 2021). "SunPower will close former SolarWorld factory in Hillsboro, lay off 170". The Oregonian. Retrieved March 19, 2022.

External links[edit]