KOIN 6: 'Innovation utopia' coming to Portland
Author: Eileen Park, KOIN 6
Posted: March 27, 2018

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Portland may soon be propelled to global prominence with an idea that creates an 'innovation utopia' in the middle of the city. 

The idea is called Portland IQ, which stands for innovation quadrant. It's a place where anyone interested in science, health and digital technology can thrive and have open access to anything they might need to create.

The quadrant will have many partners but the four main anchors will be Portland Community College, Oregon Health Science University, Portland State University and the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry.

"It's a way for Portland to attract talent and people and organizations that care about science, technology, engineering and math. The whole idea is to expand and develop companies already innovating in tech and health, so that the city will become a global leader in innovation," OMSI Communications Manager John Farmer says.

Portland IQ would leverage available land, build more transit options and amplify the existing science and technology assets that already exist. 

"Take a family who lives a few blocks down the road from here, they come to OMSI, their child gets a spark of curiosity, maybe they meet an astronaut and maybe they want to learn more. A few years down the road they're at PCC taking night classes and then they want to go to PSU, and after that now they're working at OHSU," Farmer says.

A public-private board was formed in January to help make the idea a reality. It's officially launching at Tech Fest NW next week, with three of the projects already in the works: 

  • Autodesk is moving into the Town Storage Building at the Burnside Bridgehead, bringing 200+ engineering and software jobs.
  • Summit Development has invested $12 million to convert an old warehouse into a bioscience/life-science building at 808 Alder St.
  • Autodesk, Uncorked Studios and Portland Incubator Experiment (PIE) are opening PIE Shop -- a new manufacturing prototyping space.