Why Land Availability Matters

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Land Study Phase 2: Summary

The Value of Jobs Coalition believes that quality of life begins with a good job and that a thriving economy creates the foundation for quality schools, healthy parks and happy families. According to a study sponsored by the coalition, in the late 1990s, the Portland-metro regionís wages and incomes fell below the national average and have stayed there. Other peer regions have passed us by in terms of income level and employment. The coalition is sponsoring a series of studies to take a closer look at our economy to see what our regionís economic needs and issues are.

There are a number of factors that help a metro regionís economy thrive Ė an educated workforce, sound infrastructure, a coordinated transportation system and available land to grow and attract employers, to name a few. This analysis examines one ingredient of regional economic health: the readiness of large-lot industrial lands.

A consistent inventory of sites is a key requirement for meeting market demand, either by expanding local employers or attracting new employers to our region. This analysis shows, however, that we have a supply of industrial land that is not readily available to attract and cultivate the types of catalytic employers that will help our regionís ability to grow and thrive.

Our region has a land use history to be proud of, and we take a measured approach to development. Most of the large-lot sites that will become available for industrial development within the foreseeable future are inside the existing Metro urban growth boundary (UGB) or urban reserves. Advancing the readiness of those sites improves our economic competitiveness, maximizes the efficient use of existing infrastructure and reduces outward pressure on the UGB.

We hope the information in this report will start a conversation among public- and private-sector leaders to help move public policy in a direction that enhances our quality of life by creating well paying jobs and laying the foundation for innovative tools that grow employers in, and attract employers to, our region.



Number of broadly attractive 25-acre or larger sites available for industrial development within 180 days.


Number of 50-acre or larger sites available for immediate development within 180 days.


Number of 100-acre sites available for immediate development within 180 days.


Number of 100-acre sites available for development between seven and 30 months.


Percentage of the regionís total payroll that came from the traded sector in 2007.


Average additional wage earned by workers in traded-sector jobs vs. non-traded-sector jobs.


Number of jobs at firms located on parcels of 25 acres or more.


Percentage of all industrial land development in the past 20 years that took place during two, three-year peaks of development (1996-1998) and (2006-2008).