There is a lot of buzz in Portland right now about the local bicycle industry. In recent weeks, spurred on by Transportation Commissioner Sam Adams, we have created our first-ever economic survey of Portland’s bicycle industry, held a bike business forum at our city-wide Bike Summit, passed an official City resolution to target the bicycle industry and held a successful show of local bicycle builders at City Hall.
All that being said, I was surprised to find out that the Portland Development Commission (PDC) has had the bicycle industry on their radar for over a decade already.
Michael Nover, former President of Kinesis USA/Mountain Cycle just sent me a newspaper clipping from the Daily Journal of Commerce dated March 11, 1996. The article is titled, “Peddling a main frame: PDC hopes Kinesis decision will attract more bicycle manufacturers to the region,” and shows Nover in the old Kinesis factory in Northwest Portland.
The opening line could have been written today:
“Spring is in the air and the Portland Development Commission is thinking bicycles.”
It’s an interesting article, click on the thumbnails below to view:
Nover also sent over a PDC brochure (view as PDF) specifically designed to encourage bicycle companies to move here. It was called, “Metals on the Move: Oregon welcomes the bicycle industry.” The pamphlet touts Anodizing Inc. and Kinesis as complementary businesses and encourage others to join them.
Ten years later Kinesis and Mountain Cycle are just a memory and Anodizing Inc. has been bought up by our last remaining high-volume bicycle frame manufacturer, Sapa Profiles Inc.. Sapa is a manufacturing company that does aluminum extrusion (key to making bikes), anodizing (a coloring process), painting and fabrication. They are located in Northeast Portland, North of Columbia Blvd. near the Army National Guard base. Learn more about Sapa’s bike frame manufacturing here.
I’m scheduled to join Sam Adams and his staff for a meeting next week about what steps the City can take to foster the local bike industry. I’ve been talking with shop owners and bike builders about this and the energy and interest is very high.
The work right now is to figure out what shape any official pro-bike industry policy will take. As a former consultant and employee with several companies in the bike industry, I am very interested in this topic and you can expect close coverage of this in the future weeks and months. I’ll keep you posted on the developments.
For more coverage of Portland’s bicycle industry browse my “Industry” category archives.