From Oregon Investment Guide 2024

Machine Makers & Metal Shapers Love Oregon

Big expansion projects are occurring around Oregon.


ne of Oregon’s most robust industry sectors is metals, machinery, equipment and construction. Since 2020, the state has landed 15 corporate facility investment projects in this sector, accounting for more than $112 million in new capital investment and generating nearly 700 new high-wage jobs.

Statewide, metals and machinery companies employ 23,177 workers at an average annual wage of $74,687. The sector is also one of the more active in exporting, as it has shown 44% growth in exports over the last 10 years, reaching an annual high of $2.3 billion.

Upstream metals manufacturing in Oregon includes operations in cast metals such as rolled steel, coiled and bar steel, industrial parts and structural steel, as well as extruded aluminum, titanium and other specialty metals used in various industries. From 2009 to 2019, upstream metals jobs grew twice as fast in Oregon as they did in the rest of the U.S.

Machinery manufacturing has shown 42% growth in exports over the past decade, reaching over $1 billion annually. In Oregon, machinery firms are diversified and specialize in everything from heavy-lift equipment to material moving, pumping and logging devices.

Machine makers and metal shapers love Oregon for several reasons:

  • The state offers an abundance of highly skilled workers in these sectors.
  • Lack of state income tax extends the purchasing power of manufacturers and their customers.
  • Access to Canada, California and Pacific Rim markets makes exporting easier.
  • Access to hydroelectric power reduces industrial electricity costs for factories.
  • Family-friendly communities in the Pacific Northwest offer a high quality of life.

new sheet metal factory in SalemGensco is building a new $55 million sheet metal factory in Salem.
Photo courtesy of Gensco

Two recent deals reflect the growth of these industries. In the metals sector, Gensco Inc. announced a $55 million facility project in Salem, totaling 479,000 sq. ft. and generating 50 new jobs making sheet metal. Scannell Properties broke ground on the new plant last November for Gensco, which will operate the factory under its Columbia Manufacturing brand name.


Gensco Inc. announced a $55 million facility project in Salem, totaling 479,000 square feet and generating 50 new jobs making sheet metal.


The new facility is about 50 miles south of Portland at the Scannell Logistics Park in Salem. Around 170,000 sq. ft. on site will be used for manufacturing, while the balance of space will be used for storage, distribution and a few offices.

In the machinery, equipment and construction sector, Ash Grove Cement announced plans last fall to build a new cement mill at its cement plant in Durkee. The new facility will produce low-carbon cement and is expected to be completed by the end of this year.

Ash Grove is making a $50 million investment in this expansion and will employ existing personnel at the plant. Perlo Construction is building the facility for the company that is based in Overland Park, Kansas.

“The transition to low-carbon cement production and reducing our environmental footprint is a top priority for Ash Grove Cement,” said Serge Schmidt, president of Ash Grove. “We are always seeking new ways to improve our sustainability performance while providing high-quality cement solutions to our customers. This state-of-the-art finish mill at our Durkee plant will strengthen Ash Grove’s position as a leader in low-carbon cement across the Western United States.”

Other notable investments in metals, machinery, equipment and construction came from Hoffman Construction Company of Oregon in Lake Oswego; Agility Robotics in Salem, where the firm is adding 500 jobs; BASX in Redmond; W.W. Grainger in Gresham; Openroad Transportation in Dallas; and Burns & McDonnell in Portland.

Ron Starner
Executive Vice President of Conway, Inc.

Ron Starner

Ron Starner is Executive Vice President of Conway Data, Inc. He has been with Conway Data for 22 years and serves as a writer and editor for both Site Selection and the company's Custom Content publishing division. His Twitter handle is @RonStarner.


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