Dubbed the Silicon Shire, Eugene - Springfield is a booming technology destination and the tech giants are taking notice. This creative, outspoken and often non-conforming community has a long history of innovation. In keeping with the local culture, many scientific explorations integrate sustainability.
The South Willamette Valley is humming. In 2015, "Fast Company" named Eugene among the next top ten cities for tech jobs. That same year, Eugene's Feeney Wireless was acquired by Novatel Wireless for $25 million. And by 2018, Eugene-based SheerID raised $18 million from investors.
Currently, the region hosts over 400 thriving technology companies inclusive of biotech, software and hardware. Eugene is also home to the largest game developer cluster in Oregon.
Five thousand technology-based jobs in the Silcon Shire produce $350 million in local payroll.
New talent streams out of the University of Oregon, which offers Tier 1 math and physics, along with an extensive green chemistry program. In 2010, the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education ranked the UO among the top tier of schools with "Highest Research Activity." Appealing to gamers, the UO even offers an undergraduate minor in Comics and Cartoon Studies - the first of its kind in the country. In 2015, the UO was awarded a federal designation as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Research. The university has plans to launch a new Center for Cyber Security and Privacy.
Two other smaller colleges, plus Oregon State University in Corvallis, also contribute to the local labor pool.
Co-working spaces like CodeChops, Eugene Mindworks, Fertilab Thinkubator and Hatch@Sprout Incubator facilitate low overhead and cost sharing for small businesses. Local laboratories include Center for Advanced Materials Characterization in Oregon (CAMCOR), Feritlab Thinkubator, the Riverfront Research Park at the University of Oregon and Oregon Nanoscience and Micrcotechnoligies Institute (ONAMI) - which is one of three nano-tech labs on the west coast.
Incubator and accelerator programs, such as RAIN Eugene and Hatch@Sprout! help connect entrepreneurs with seed funds, grants, venture capital, crowdfunding and Angel groups. Join an "ask and offer" forum for the technology start-up community at #EugeneTech Switchboard.
QUIRKY & COOL
A unique blend of counter-culture roots and academia, Eugene carves out its own niche on popular culture. Living here is fun. A lot of people ride bicycles, which makes sense when everything is so close. Parks are smack in the middle of urban centers, often with river access. Walk, run or paddle on your lunch break! Sports fans cheer on minor league and collegiate teams (Go Ducks!) and, of course, Eugene is known as TrackTown USA.
Against the backdrop of all this outdoor recreation there is a plethora of arts from the streets to the stage. Join in a flash mob at Kesey Square or enjoy a projected animation installation during a gallery walk. With mega-venues like Matthew Knight Arena, national headliners put Eugene on the route, while local entertainment fills the city's many bars and coffee shops.
Creative ideas don't just take shape at the iconic Saturday Market - join weekly meet-ups for gamers and tech developers. And brush up on your pinball skills because you're going to need them! Arcades abut "old school" board game lounges, popular along with karaoke and trivia. And speaking of boards... from sand slopes to snow slopes, boarding is year-round. Cruise the lakes on a stand-up paddle board or the golf course on a golfboard.
One of the best things about the region is the food. Abundant farmers' markets feature organic produce and grass-fed meats. Immerse yourself in viticulture, with a "pinot clinic" or "rent-a-row" and learn the ins and outs of growing Oregon's renowned pinot grapes. Inventive approaches and personal exploration is always encouraged here. Even our craft brewers get über geeky. Ninkasi Brewing Company blasted yeast into outer space in 2015 and then brewed "space beer."
And cruising down the street on the way to VooDoo Doughnuts, don't be surprised to see an electric car by Arcimoto or a posse of commuters on electric bicycles. That's just Eugene.
- 1930s McKenzie River Drift Boat
- 1964 first Nike running shoe
- 1978 first Burley bike trailer
- 1981 first cloned vertebrate - zebrafish
- 1980s Molecular Probes biotech company (now part of Thermo Fisher Scientific)
- 1992 Bike Friday custom folding travel bicycles
- 2000 GarageGames founded
- 2003 nation's first green chemistry college textbook