Integra leaves town and Portland shrugs

The decision by telecom company Integra to depart the Lloyd District for Clark County amounts to the loss of a headquarters company for Portland and Oregon.

Observers, however, seem fully satisfied with the result: The company and its 690 employees will remain in the greater Portland area when it moves in June 2014.

“The first and foremost goal here was to keep the company in the region,” said Sean Robbins, president and CEO of Greater Portland Inc., a private nonprofit that worked with Integra as well as the cities of Vancouver and Portland to ensure Integra stayed around, more or less.

People tend to look at these kinds of announcements as situations of one community did something wrong, another did something right, but that’s not particularly the case, Robbins said. Companies have their own agendas, they know what they need. In this case, it was a site of a particular size and nature and Integra made its choice.

Integra is consolidating the bulk of its workforce on the former Hewlett-Packard campus in east Vancouver. It currently occupies multiple floors on two Lloyd District buildings. It will leave a small local sales force contingent in Portland.

“Metro economies extend beyond the borders,” said Chris Harder of the Portland Development Commission, which worked to keep Integra in Portland proper.

“For us, keeping a company like Integra in the region is a win,” he said. Certainly, Integra continues to employ a lot of Portlanders.

Harder said he has no worries about how other companies might interpret Integra’s decision. Portland’s central business district continues to be a compelling proposition, he said, pointing to Schnitzer Steel Industries Inc.'s decision in February to move its headquarters to downtown Portland's KOIN Center.

“It’s great that (Integra) stayed in the Portland-Vancouver metro region and that they found a location that fits their business needs,” said Megan Doern, spokeswoman for the Portland Business Alliance.

Yes, it’s a loss to Portland’s central city, but hopefully new tenants will fill the Lloyd District space, she said.

More articles from the Portland Business Journal: http://www.bizjournals.com/portland/news/2013/04/11/guilty-plea-expected-in-ponzi-scheme.html