Eugene: Economy

Major Industries and Commercial Activity

Lumber is the largest industry in the Eugene area, where a number of manufacturing concerns produce lumber and wood products. The region is the nation's largest producer of softwood lumber and plywood products, although weak prices in the early 2000s have hurt the industry somewhat. Agriculture ranks second to the wood industry in the local economy, with a wide variety of crops grown. The Willamette Valley wine industry is a growing sector of the economy. A sizable food processing industry has grown up around the agricultural activity, and the area has seen recent growth in the RV manufacturing industry, such as the arrival of Legacy Coach to produce high-end luxury motor coaches.

Eugene serves central and southern Oregon as a retail and wholesale trade center. Services, government, and tourism are also contributors to the overall economy.

Items and goods produced: lumber, recreational vehicles, canned fruits and vegetables, dairy and meat products, chickens and chicken fryers, sheep, grass seed, metals, machinery, compact discs, computer software, plastics, electronic instruments, computer memory disks, sport and pleasure boats.

Incentive Programs—New and Existing Companies

In recent years the emphasis in the Willamette Valley has switched from business recruitment to business retention and expansion programs designed to help resident companies "stay put and stay healthy." Among the many incentives available to businesses in Eugene are financial programs offered at the local level, such as the Eugene Business Development Funds; and at the state level, such as the Oregon Research & Technology Development Accounts and the Brownfields Redevelopment Fund. Other incentives include enterprise zones, new construction exemptions, and tax credits. Workforce incentive programs include employee recruiting, screening, and evaluating; customized training at Lane Community College; on-the-job training reimbursement; and certification services.

Job training programs

The state of Oregon's education program consists of a statewide apprenticeship program and has students choose between job training or a college preparatory program after the tenth grade. The program is to be installed in stages in schools through the year 2010. The Employer Workforce Training Fund is an Oregon grant program for employers wanting to upgrade the skills of their employees to the trade or healthcare sectors. The Lane Workforce Partnership oversees programs based on those grants, and also runs the JOBS Welfare-to-Work program. WorkSource Oregon centers not only help match employees and their skills's with employers, but also help bring workers to training programs, such as those at Lane Community College.

Development Projects

Aggressive efforts to diversify the local economy have resulted in several industrial expansions in the area; software development, RV manufacturing, and environmental technology-related fields are especially high-growth businesses. Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines will build a 200,000-square-foot national customer service center in the Eugene-Springfield area starting in 2005. Construction is planned to begin in 2006 on the new research center for the Oregon Nanoscience and Microtechnologies Institute by the University of Oregon campus. The city of Eugene has been upgrading its emergency services with the new downtown Fire Station 1 at a cost of $5.1 million, and a $2.8 million Firehouse 11, both of which opened in 2005. Also in 2005 construction began on the Lane County Armed Forces Reserve Center in Springfield, the total cost of which is $32 million. The University of Oregon is restoring Reser Stadium, home of the Beavers football team, for $80 million, adding amenities and expanding seating to 55,000.

Economic Development Information: Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce, 1401 Willamette Street, Eugene, OR 97401; telephone (541)484-1314; fax (541)484-4942. Lane Metro Partnership, PO Box 10398, Eugene, OR 97440; telephone (541)686-2741; fax (541)686-2325; email Oregon Employment Department, 875 Union Street N.E., Salem, OR 97301; telephone (503)378-4824; toll-free (800)237-3710; email

Commercial Shipping

A number of air-freight services operate out of Eugene Airport, notably Alaska/Horizon. More than 50 interstate truck carriers serve metropolitan Eugene and the West Coast via Interstate 5. Eugene is close to three deep-water ports, including the Port of Portland and the International Port of Coos Bay, for shipping to Asia. The Union Pacific and Burlington Northern railroads run through the area for shipping goods throughout North America.

Labor Force and Employment Outlook

Eugene boasts a skilled labor force with a good work ethic and low turnover rates. One third of the adult population has had four or more years of college. The city is the hub of one of the country's top 100 industrial areas. Continued growth is forecast in non-lumber manufacturing sectors, such as electronic and biotech technologies.

The following is a summary of data regarding the Eugene-Springfield metropolitan area labor force, 2004 annual averages.

Size of non-agricultural labor force: 143,500

Number of workers employed in . . .

natural resources and mining: 1,000

construction: 6,700

manufacturing: 19,300

trade, transportation and utilities: 26,700

information: 3,300

financial activities: 7,700

professional and business services: 15,500

educational and health services: 18,600

leisure and hospitality: 13,600

other services: 4,900

government: 26,200

Average hourly earnings of production workers employed in manufacturing: $14.89

Unemployment rate: 6.5% (February 2005)

Eugene: Economy

Largest county employers Number of employees
PeaceHealth Oregon 4,125
University of Oregon 3,760
Monaco Coach Corp. 2,200
U.S. Government 2,000
Lane Community College 2,000
Lane County 1,786
Eugene School District 4J 1,651
Springfield School District 1,500
City of Eugene 1,465
McKenzie-Willamette Medical Center 1,200

Cost of Living

The Chamber of Commerce describes Eugene housing as "plentiful, varied and built to last." Eugene is the center of many environmentally friendly housing construction projects and developments. The Chamber reported that the average home sale price in 2003 was almost $169,000. The average rental price of a 3-bedroom home was $900-$1200 per month and the average 2-bedroom apartment/duplex rented for $575-760 per month in 2003.

The following is a summary of data regarding key cost of living factors for the Eugene area.

2004 ACCRA Average House Price: Not reported

2004 ACCRA Cost of Living Index: Not reported

State income tax rate: Ranges from 5.0% to 9.0%

State sales tax rate: None

Local income tax rate: None

Local sales tax rate: None

Property tax rate: Real Property tax rate for the city of Eugene is $5 to $10 per $1,000 assessed valuation (2005)

Economic Information: Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce, 1401 Willamette Street, Eugene, OR 97401; telephone (541)484-1314; fax (541)484-4942. Lane Metro Partnership, PO Box 10398, Eugene, OR 97440; telephone (541) 686-2741; fax 686-2325; email Oregon Employment Department, 875 Union Street N.E., Salem, OR 97301; telephone (503)378-4824 or (800) 237-3710; email