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The Silicon Forest: Oregonian Reports What Portland Start-Up Business Attorneys Already Knew


Portland lawyers who represent start up businesses have noticed the trend. Last Sunday, the Oregonian noticed it, too: Tech companies are coming back to (or ramping up in) the Silicon Forest.

Though its never been a full-blown home base to a major technology player, the Portland area, known as the Silicon Forest in the tech community, has long housed major outposts for big time players.

Intel and Hewlett-Packard started the trend back in the 1970s. Intel is now Oregon's largest private employer.

In the 1990s, Xerox and IBM acquired local Oregon companies and made the state a major part of their U.S. operations. Smaller but important players like Linear Technology, Maxim Integrated Products, Novellus and Microchip Technology also came to Oregon or Southwest Washington to set up shop.

Today, as the economic malaise gives way to slow expansion and a return to some level of business risk-taking, a new generation of tech companies are making their way into the region or doubling down on existing operations.

The Oregonian detailed the new players and recent moves by existing players. You can read the full article here.

Novellus expanded its Tualatin facility in 2009. Earlier this year, tech giant Microsoft moved its small cadre of 40 employees to a high profile Pearl District location.

ON Semiconductor, which arrived in Oregon just before the bubble burst, plans to add significant additional employees by year's end. Yahoo arrived in Hillsboro around the same time and is rumored to be expanding in the area.

Apple moved its Vancouver office to downtown Vancouver in 2008 and that office, while small in number, is reportedly large in pull within Apple. The Vancouver group is said to have played a key role in developing the word processing and presentation software for the iPad.

Dell bought Portland's cloud computing stand-out RNA Networks in June of this year and it is expected to keep its downtown Portland site.

eBay also purchased a downtown Portland startup in 2010, Critical Path, and is expected to stay downtown having just recently leased new digs near PSU.

Finally, tech giants Facebook and Google both made major Oregon moves in 2010. Facebook moved a large data center to Prineville, which is still under construction. Mark Zuckerberg is rumored to have been seen flitting about the Pearl District in the last few months, as well.

Google, in addition to launching a few test programs (most notably Google Places) in tech savvy Portland, added a development office in downtown Portland in 2010 after buying a Tualatin software company called Instantiations.

After a few years of tough sledding, the Silicon Forest is thriving again, and barring any double dip type of event in the economy, all indications are that it will continue to grow well into the future.

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