Feb 5, 2024 - News

Oregon's semiconductor industry scales up with investment

a microchip with a money symbol cut out of the middle

Illustration: Tiffany Herring/Axios

Oregon's semiconductor industry is expected to expand exponentially in the coming years thanks to millions of dollars in state and federal investment.

Why it matters: Officials anticipate the new funds — coupled with a new set of tax credits — will stimulate the state's already established industry by creating more than 6,000 permanent jobs, potentially bringing in a $40 billion windfall.

State of play: The second company to receive federal funding as part of the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022 — the Biden administration's bid to compete with China on manufacturing — is Gresham-based semiconductor company Microchip.

  • It will receive $72 million to expand its manufacturing facility just outside of Portland, an $800 million initiative that was already underway.
  • Industry experts predict that's just the tip of the iceberg of the potential funds that could come pouring into the state in the near future.

What they're saying: Mike Wilkerson of ECONorthwest told OPB that for companies that felt like they weren't competitive, the funding is an extra incentive "tipping the scale a little bit so that they can make the decision to invest in or expedite the timeline."

  • Wilkerson said Oregon's semiconductor industry will likely see significant dividends from all of this investment in the next decade.

Flashback: Last year, as part of Senate Bill 4, lawmakers approved $240 million in grants and loans to lure semiconductor companies to conduct research in Oregon.

  • The bill also granted Gov. Tina Kotek the authority to shift urban growth boundaries for new or existing businesses looking to build or expand facilities.

Zoom in: In January, Kotek announced the first 15 local companies set to receive awards. The biggest household name featured is Intel, specializing in manufacturing and chip design.

  • It's set to receive $115 million from the state — the largest sum for any company on the list.
  • The money will go toward growing its Washington County campus, which is already the largest site in the company's portfolio. It's also in the process of constructing a $20 billion plant outside of Columbus, Ohio.

Meanwhile, Hewlett-Packard's Corvallis-based campus will receive $9.5 million. The company had previously scaled back chip production at the site, and the new cash injection aims to bring jobs back.

  • Microchip also scored $11 million from the state initiative (on top of the $72 million from the Biden administration).
  • As part of the award agreement, the company will work with Portland Opportunities Industrialization Center and Rosemary Anderson High School to create a student internship and apprenticeship pipeline.

The bottom line: Oregon's semiconductor industry already boasts 15% of the country's semiconductor workforce, and with more investment it's looking to take on an even bigger slice.


Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Portland.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Portland stories

No stories could be found


Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Portland.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more