So why are tech professionals choosing Portland over the flashier Silicon Valley? For many, it's the proximity to nature. Portland residents can surf, hike, camp, and ski – not to mention it's one of the most bicycle-friendly cities in the world, according to NBC News. Those who would rather stay indoors have plenty to love, too: Portland's laidback lifestyle, incredible restaurant scene, and collaborative tech community mean nearly any IT professional can find something to love here, and earned the city honorable mentions for its community vibe and foodie cred.
Dubbed "the Silicon Forest," Portland has been quietly gaining traction as a tech center for a few years. The city's IT population increased 28 percent between 2010 and 2013, beating out Silicon Valley's 20.8 percent boost, according to the Portland Business Journal. Further cementing Portland's status as a go-to city for techies, Google opened a super-cool new office here in early 2016.
"There's immediate access to great food, outdoor activities and coffee culture; and there are established tech companies hiring in Portland alongside a budding startup ecosystem," says Darren Buckner, founder and CEO of Workfrom, a website that allows users to find the best coffee shops, cafes, bars, co-working hubs, and other work-friendly spaces around the world. "Owning an emerging tech company in Portland is great for a few key reasons, the first being the collaborative nature of the community. Portland is well known for its entrepreneurial spirit and maker mentality. When you start a business in Portland, there are all kinds of people willing to provide support."
"It's easy for people who want to start a company to find resources, find people they can draw on or ask questions of," says Steve Havelka, owner, OregonProcurementSearch.com and PDXProcurementSearch.com, which helps small-business owners find and respond to government RFPs. "The local governmental agencies are really invested in supporting the tech community."
Part of that ecosystem includes the Portland Development Commission, which focuses on innovation and economic opportunity, TechTown Portland, a collaboration among several tech companies in the city, CENTRL Office, a co-working space, Oregon Entrepreneurs Network, which help Oregonians launch startups, and TechFestNW, a technology conference. But trust, us, there's lots more out there if you decide to move to the City of Roses.