It's been mentioned on Blogtown before, but I've been watching the O's series on the Central Eastside with some interest, as the city contemplates how to handle the march of change in the area. At the crux of it is a balancing act between attracting and housing companies that provide high-wage office jobs, as well as accommodating the independent manufacturers of food and goods that are increasingly demanding economic attention and value—not just in Portland, but nationwide, as the culture comes around to desiring a reboot of locally and nationally manufactured goods.

Progress begins with metrics, and economic studies on manufacturers are beginning to percolate, providing a starting point for recommendations on governmental, industrial, and development fronts. Portland has the advantage of being somewhat late to the party: We can look to other cities—San Francisco seems to bear out the most relevant comparisons—to see the impact of compromising industrially zoned neighborhoods in favor of offices and housing. For instance, this study on SF's food manufacturing sector underscores the degree to which real estate availability presents a challenge to growth.

On the local front, organizations like Portland Made are fighting to maintain and support urban manufacturing (basic membership is free). And not at entirely coincidentally, they're currently running a survey to collect real estate-specific information for a variety of sectors. If you're making anything in this city, or you're in support of small manufacturing or enjoy consuming products made by your neighbors, you might consider joining that conversation while it's hot.

  • Portland Made