Oregon’s political leaders said Thursday they’re going to try to attract the booming semiconductor industry.
The announcement comes three weeks after chipmaker Intel, Oregon’s largest corporate employer, announced it will invest $20 billion to build a new chip factory in Ohio — news that stung in Oregon.
The new Oregon Semiconductor Competitiveness Taskforce will assess key factors that impact semiconductor manufacturing, Oregon’s competitiveness in those areas, and options to position Oregon to attract industry investment, the Oregon Business Council said in a statement.
The group will be co-chaired by U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, Gov. Kate Brown and Portland General Electric President and CEO Maria Pope.
“Building up our state’s long-time role as an American mainstay for semiconductor production is a must to continue generating good-paying jobs for Oregonians in the metro area and beyond,” Wyden said.
The task force will form six work groups to look at industrial land availability, workforce, tax and incentives, regulations, the research and development environment, access to supply chains and strategies to attract investment.
Oregon has a 15% share of national semiconductor employment and directly employs 40,300 people, the Oregon Business Council said.
But recently, the industry has gone elsewhere. Intel's planned site near Columbus, Ohio, is expected to create 3,000 company jobs, 7,000 construction jobs and support tens of thousands of additional jobs for suppliers and partners.
Samsung said in November it plans to build a $17 billion semiconductor factory outside Austin, Texas. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott called it "the largest foreign direct investment in the state of Texas, ever.”
Brown said semiconductor manufacturing “presents tremendous economic potential for our state, and now is the time to seize the opportunity.”