Economic Development

Economic Development in Corvallis, Oregon

The Corvallis area is home to a burgeoning innovation economy with a strong entrepreneurial community centered on engineering and high technology. The Corvallis Benton Chamber Coalition, the Software Association of Oregon, the Oregon Nanoscience and Microtechnologies Institute (ONAMI), and Oregon State University are just of few of the active players contributing to this vibrant, creative environment.

The area’s early economy was based on agriculture, timber and education. Oregon State University, once known as the Oregon Agricultural College, was established in Corvallis in 1862. Designated as one of two land, sea, space and sun grant institutions in the U.S., OSU has grown to be the second largest and oldest institution of higher learning in Oregon.

A unique combination of soil and climate has made the Willamette Valley a world leader in seed and specialty crops, as well as Christmas trees. Grass and legume seeds, dairy, sheep, plywood, lumber and paper are important local products, and we have a well-respected and growing wine industry.

While wood products, agriculture and tourism continue to be major industries in the state, high technology is the fastest growing. Corvallis has over 25 software companies ranging in size from Summit Information Systems with over 300 employees to one-person operations, plus Hewlett-Packard’s 2.3-million-square-foot research campus. Corvallis benefits from its identity as a college town and has a workforce that is among the highest educated in the Northwest.

Research Parks & Industrial LandAvailability

Benton County has over 1,800 acres of industrial zoned land available, including 1,000 acres in a tax-incentivized Enterprise Zone with a “sustainability” focus and 42 acres designated “shovel ready” by the State of Oregon. Corvallis also has turn-key industrial properties, high-tech lease properties and research parks. The Business Enterprise Center (BEC) is a full-service business incubator offering shared services, mentoring and reduced rates for budding entrepreneurs. Since 1988, The BEC has a long list of successful graduate enterprises, graduating 87 businesses with more than 80 percent still in business five years after leaving the BEC.


Corvallis is home to the Oregon Nanoscience and Microtechnologies Institute (ONAMI), the state’s first signature research center. ONAMI’s mission is to grow research and commercialization, accelerating innovation-based economic development in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest. In its first two years, ONAMI successfully leveraged $40 million in federal and private research grants and has over 140 researchers statewide working to achieve its mission. It is a powerful collaboration involving Oregon’s three public research universities—Oregon State University, Portland State University and the University of Oregon. Other partners include the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, the State of Oregon, selected researchers from the Oregon Graduate Institute and the Oregon Health Sciences University.

Together, the ONAMI partners are performing cutting edge research in several aspects of nanoscale metrology, transparent and printed electronics, green nanoscience and nano-manufacturing, materials characterization, bulk microfluidics for energy/chemical and medical devices, process intensification and microfabrication. This research is applied to commercial opportunities ranging from computers to healthcare, and energy systems to environmental remediation.

ResearchThemes & Interests

With OSU graduating some of the country’s most employable engineers and the area businesses drawing some of the most innovative and creative minds from around the world, Corvallis has specific research capabilities:

  • Microfabricated systems for miniaturization of energy, chemical and biological/ biomedical processes
  • Microreactor production of nanomaterials—high efficiency, high precision, low waste
  • Select techniques for nanoscale metrology—a critical enabler for future generations of innovation
  • Select nanomaterials (functionalized and precision-spaced Au nanoparticles, bulk superlattices) and “green” synthesis techniques combining higher material yields and less harmful reagents
  • Portable/miniature heating, cooling, and micro-power systems
  • High-temperature, corrosion resistant microstructures (e.g. to enable localized and on-vehicle production of hydrogen)
EducationalPartnership Facilities
  • Oregon State University • College of Business – Austin Family Business Program – Austin Entrepreneurship Program • College of Engineering • Technology Transfer
  • Linn-Benton Community College • Small Business Development Center
  • WNHS Microenterprise Program
  • Workforce Investment Board • Workforce Response Team
  • Expansion Management magazine rated Corvallis as one of the top public school districts in the country, 509J District
  • Ninety-three percent of classes in the district (509J) are taught by teachers who are “highly qualified” under federal standards