It’s sort of a running national joke that while Portland might have its perks (great coffee, beer, biking, food, independent businesses, natural areas, and so on), our economy isn’t much to brag about. Portlandia’s “Where young people go to retire” joke was the punchline heard ’round the world.
But what if we turned all that great stuff into a foundation for a healthy local economy? Well, according to Slate Magazine’s “Moneybox” blogger and commentator Matthew Yglesias, who visited Portland last week, we have. In a blog post today titled, How Portland Got Its Groove Back: The city where “young people go to retire” is having an economic renaissance, with lessons for the rest of the country, Yglesias takes a close look at current economic indicators and determines that Portland is “now doing fine.”
Not only does Yglesias’s article feature a person on a bike in the lead photo, he directly includes our local bike industry and general bike-friendliness as one of the key reasons we’ve rebounded. Here’s an excerpt:
“So what went right? To an extent, Portland’s benefited from the fact that some of its local enthusiasms—bicycles, food trucks, microbrews, artisanal whatnot—have become more popular nationally, giving a boost to some growing local companies* [Yglesias linked this text to a BikePortland article about our healthy bike manufacturing sector]. The Portland area has also benefited from the region’s green proclivities. Renewable energy has been a growth industry nationwide, and Portland is home to the North American base of Germany’s SolarWorld and Denmark’s Vestas, one of the world’s largest wind-turbine manufacturers.”
On a related note, President Obama made remarks during a speech in Colorado today that he’d like to boost American manufacturing by giving the same treatment to other industries that he gave to the auto industry. Like I said before, American’s bike makers are poised for a boost of “insourcing.”
America’s bike riding renaissance is already here and growing stronger by the day. We used to make bikes in the country that supplied the world 100 years ago (before cars took over). The auto industry on the other hand, was hurting before Obama lended the golden hand, and driving is on the decline. Isn’t now a perfect time for strategic investments in American bike manufacturing? We’ve already got our groove going here in Portland and I’m sure we’d be happy to be first in line.