Oregon is Named the Country's Sixth Most Innovative State

But we got beat by Washington?!?

(Megan Nanna)

Oregon has been named one of the most innovative states in the country in the Bloomberg U.S. State Innovation Index, which measures each state's level of innovation based on several categories, including tech company density and patent activity.

Sixth? What gives? Aren't Portland residents the inventors of the Licki Brush?

The index factors in the number of science and engineering degree holders in each state, productivity and concentration of science, technology, engineering and mathematics employment, which places Oregon sixth on the list.

Here's the top 5:

  1. Massachusetts: 95
  2. California: 94
  3. Washington: 93
  4. New Jersey: 80
  5. Maryland: 79

We're also just slightly higher than Connecticut.

The least innovative are South Dakota, Louisiana, Arkansas, West Virginia and Mississippi.

So what does Oregon have that 44 other states don't? The index's emphasis on tech company density may provide an explanation. Several notable tech companies have a presence in the Silicon Forest—the tech company-heavy region in Washington County—including Epson, Oracle and, of course, Intel.

Bloomberg has credited Massachusetts' first-place victory partly to the state's enticing tax incentives and Oregon has tried for similar success. In 2015, Gov. Kate Brown signed a bill offering tax breaks for tech companies, though Oregon also faced a major tech loss in 2016 when plans to bring Google Fiber to Portland were suspended.

For anyone who feels that achieving sixth place is simultaneously remarkable and underwhelming—how did we get beat by Washington, of all places?—keep in mind that this isn't like when Portland was named the third-best biking city in the country.

Now that was a slap in the face.

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