Portland’s urban revitalization draws young talent, making future even brighter

In 2013, about a year after he started the property-management software company Cozy in San Francisco, Chief Executive Officer Gino Zahnd hired a guy who insisted on living in Portland, Oregon.

So Zahnd set up a small office there and, in the interests of fairness, slowly started letting the rest of his employees choose between the two.

By 2015, all 18 were in Portland. In the Bay Area office, Zahnd was the one who finally turned off the lights.

“We’d have people come up from the San Francisco office to work in Portland, and they’d just want to stay,” Zahnd says. That’s fine by him: In Portland, he pays less than one-third of his San Francisco office expenses.

EBay, Airbnb, and Salesforce.com have all opened Portland-area satellites since 2010.

Marc Heedt, who used to work in sales at Twitter in San Francisco, traded a 90-minute commute for a 30-minute one in January after moving to Portland to work for mobile developer Urban Airship. “More and more talent is going to be coming here,” he says.

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