Oregon Delegation Announces Manufacturing Designation for Oregon Communities

Portland, OR – Oregon Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden were joined by Oregon Congressmen Peter Defazio, Earl Blumenauer, Kurt Schrader and Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici today in announcing that Oregon and SW Washington have received a manufacturing designation under the Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership (IMCP) initiative for the Pacific Northwest Partnership Region. This designation means that the Pacific Northwest Partnership Region will receive coordinated support for their manufacturing strategies from eleven federal agencies with more than $1 billion available in federal economic development assistance.  

A 16-county bi-state region, the manufacturing designation announced today includes 130 urban, suburban, and rural communities stretching from southwest Washington to south of Eugene, Oregon. The Pacific Northwest Manufacturing Partnership (PNMP) has identified advanced materials sciences as its focus, with advanced wood products and cross laminated timber as the catalytic project area, to introduce innovation into a long-standing industry.

“Manufacturing is crucial to the success of Oregon’s economy and this new designation will help bring more federal dollars and put Oregonians to work in good paying jobs,” said Senator Jeff Merkley. “This proposal will not only help the manufacturing industry but it will build on the strength of our traditional timber industry and help create new markets for cross laminated timber products. This is great news for the Pacific Northwest.”  

“A federal manufacturing designation puts an official title on what manufacturers and consumers in the Pacific Northwest already know – that our region is a leader in manufacturing and innovation,” said Senator Ron Wyden. “This designation will boost Oregon’s productivity, attracting more investment and creating even greater opportunities for local manufacturers to compete on a national and international scale.”

“This is well-deserved recognition of the strong leadership in our area and across the state,” said Congressman Peter Defazio. “I am hopeful that the priority access to federal funding that this designation provides will help bolster our efforts to strengthen the economy and create more jobs in cities and rural communities across Oregon.” 

“Oregon is a manufacturing powerhouse, with manufacturing accounting for nearly half of its GDP. This designation will further the Pacific Northwest Manufacturing Partnership’s efforts in workforce development, good paying jobs and continue to bolster the economic competitiveness of Oregon’s manufacturing industries as we seek newer and bigger markets at home and abroad,” said Representative Earl Blumenauer.

“With Oregon leading the nation in manufacturing output, this designation will enable the Pacific Northwest Manufacturing Partnership to continue to grow and create more economic opportunity and good-paying jobs for Oregonians,” said Congressman Kurt Schrader. “I commend the Department of Commerce for recognizing that Oregon is a fast-growing hub of innovation and high-tech production.”

“As the manufacturing sector evolves, it continues to be a major driver of job creation and economic growth in Oregon,” Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici said. “This designation will provide Oregon with additional resources to expand manufacturing opportunities, including new, innovative technology in the timber industry that could lead to more sustainable building projects.”

The vision for the PNMP is to build on a traditional industry – wood products – and modernize it for the 21st century. As both technologies and demands in the wood products industry evolve, the inherent strengths of the PNMP region put it in a strong position to take advantage of emerging cross laminated timber markets. The region has articulated an opportunity with cross laminated timber— green building construction is driving the use of new types of wood products, but currently no production of structural cross laminated timber is occurring in the US. The timber industry in Oregon and Washington is well positioned to orient itself to meet this market demand, and compete effectively with foreign manufacturers in these emerging markets.

In order to qualify for a manufacturing designation, leaders from the private sector, local government, higher education, local economic development organizations, and other nonprofits worked together to identify a sector of manufacturing where their community has a comparative advantage and drafted a strategic plan that addresses: workforce and supply chain challenges; infrastructure; research and innovation; trade and investment; capital access; and operational improvement for manufacturing companies.