Portland Tech Firm Relocating To Lake Oswego As Safety Deteriorates In Central Eastside
PORTLAND, Ore. — Software company Trimble has announced that they are vacating their Central Eastside Industrial District offices and are moving to new premises in the summer. Going with them are about 400 jobs.
Colorado-based Trimble (Nasdaq: TRMB), which purchased Portland-grown construction software maker Viewpoint in 2018, will be moving to a business park in Lake Oswego. Beset by public safety concerns over the past few years, Trimble’s relocation is another setback for Portland and the Central Eastside Industrial District where their offices are currently located.
In 2015, the company- then known as Viewpoint, moved into a kitted-out office- the two-story former Portland General Electric facility on Southeast Water Avenue. In 2018, Trimble acquired Viewpoint in a $1.2 billion deal.
Central Eastside Safety Concerns
In 2021, on-and-off moving discussions began at Trimble, as many of the nearby restaurants and other amenities had shut down during the pandemic. With Trimble’s lease at 1515 Southeast Water Avenue expiring in July 2024, the talks became more focused last year.
In 2022, during a tense town hall meeting, Eastside business leaders expressed frustration to local leaders over break-ins and other issues. City officials responded with what they termed a 90-day reset in 2023 that saw police make dozens of arrests, recover stolen cars, and seize guns.
Trimble General Counsel Jennifer Allison said in an interview, “We love our city. We love this area.” Trimble doesn’t want to move far away, but Allison feels that moving just a little bit farther out will give them a little bit more peace of mind. According to Allison, the walkability of their neighborhood- once a drawcard for employees, has lost its attraction.
Allison pointed out that particularly as a woman, there is a certain level of vulnerability that men possibly don’t experience. “It’s different if you’re 6-foot-2 and 225 and you’re a dude,” she said. In the past, employees had been comfortable walking to grab dinner after work, but this was no longer the case, as they were now wondering whether they felt safe. Allison has lived in Portland since 1995 and used to wait tables at Kells Irish Pub.
In her early working years, Allison would get off work at 2:30 in the morning and walk to her car. Even as a 23-year-old girl, she wouldn’t give safety a second thought. Her experience was that Portland is a city was incredible safety.
Trimble also has a separate lease at 1510 Southeast Water Avenue that expires in due course, and they are seeking to sublease that space.
Trimble’s Move To Lake Oswego
Trimble signed the lease on December 12 on their new 35,000 square feet premises at 5665 Meadows Road, after an extensive search, according to company officials. Trimble Inc. General Counsel Jennifer Allison explained the company’s decision to depart for Lake Oswego this summer, citing security concerns.
Looking at Portland, Beaverton, Hillsboro, Vancouver, Lake Oswego — and farther afield, Trimble even considered premises in Bend, where the now-former CEO of Viewpoint, Manolis Kotzabasakis (who is now CEO of CentralSquare Technologies), had a house. The extraordinarily high Central Oregon real estate prices deterred the company. Allison said the thought of living in Bend and skiing during lunch was tempting, but that went away.
In Portland, Trimble investigated the St. Johns neighborhood and the Montgomery Park office building at 2701 Northwest Vaughn Street but decided against them in favor of Lake Oswego. Suburban safety was a big pull, but there were also other factors that made Lake Oswego suitable.
The Beaverton or Hillsboro-length commute (even though they were less expensive) was a negative factor, and Lake Oswego seemed a bit closer to the current Eastside location. Lake Oswego also offers restaurants and shopping. Allison said that it felt safer. Trimble has existing private security at its Portland office and conducted an assessment of crime rates. Lake Oswego scored well, and on finding good-sized space, they made the decision.
Notching up another win, Lake Oswego is rising in prominence as a hub for Portland businesses considering relocating. As many other companies have, Trimble will be relocating to the Kruse Way office park, as real estate firm CBRE noted in a recent report. Hoffman Construction is also relocating to the Lake Oswego suburb from downtown Portland.
Trimble’s new lease agreement is for 10 years for an approximately 17,000-square-foot space reduction from their Eastside office, said marketing vice president Simmi Singh Corcoran. Leases signed at the end of 2023 reflected an average lease term of just short of six years according to CBRE.
Currently, most Trimble local employees are hybrid workers- working two-to-four days in the office, while around 15% are fully in-office, with 10% being remote workers. All employees regardless of whether they are office-bound or not will be considered part of the Lake Oswego office, according to company officials.