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Business Journal: Brookings report on 'innovation districts' contains lessons for Portland
Author: Portland Business Journal staff
Posted: June 16, 2014

Read the original article in the Business Journal here.

A gripping new report on “innovation districts” gave Portland a mention but not much more.

That’s because Portland is still trying to figure out the secrets that have made Seattle, Boston and North Carolina’s Research Triangle into research-based economic powerhouses.

The Washington, D.C.-based Brookings Institution report lauded those areas and others for deftly connecting “leading-edge anchor institutions and companies (with) start-ups, business incubators and accelerators. Such districts are “physically compact, transit-accessible, and technically-wired and offer mixed-use housing, office and retail.”

Portland was mentioned as an area where such districts are developing. The report gave extended analysis to Seattle and Detroit, among other cities.

“The potential for the growth of innovation districts in the United States is exceptionally strong,” the group wrote. “Virtually every major city in the United States has an ‘anchor plus’ play given the confluence of a vibrant central business district, a strong midtown area and transit connecting the two.”

City officials are working with Portland State University leaders to impel Portland’s “education district,” for which backers had expected to tap urban renewal funds. Portland Mayor Charlie Hales had indicated he wanted the urban renewal program to fix blighted areas, as per the program’s mission.

He and PSU President Wim Wiewel have reached a deal that would send $25 million in other financing for redevelopment in the area.