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Volume 17, Issue 9
September 2019


Columbia Sportswear to expand in Cedar Mill

In late August, Columbia Sportswear announced that they had bought three buildings from Electro Scientific Industries (ESI) on Science Park Drive, near the existing Columbia headquarters at Science Park and Cornell. The new buildings are adjacent to the existing employee store.

columbia sportswear

The new buildings will add around 200,000 square feet to the existing HQ’s 450,000 square feet of space. Some Columbia employees work in leased space around the county, and they’ll be able to move into the new spaces once they’re renovated. One of the buildings is anticipated to be ready next summer, and the other two will come on line the following year.

The company reported $97.2 million in net income for the first half of 2019, a 77% increase over the same period in 2018, according to a news release. As of December 31, 2018, Columbia Sportswear employed more than 6,500 people around the world, according to its 2019 annual report.

ESI, which manufactures laser cutters used in the chip-making industry, was sold last year to a Massachusetts company, MKS. The buildings that were sold to Columbia were considered surplus property, since much of the ESI division’s workforce was laid off even before the sale.

Paul Lamfrom, father of current chairperson Gert Boyle, founded the company in 1938 as a hat distributor (Columbia Hat Company). In the ‘60s the company began manufacturing its own products and changed its name to Columbia Sportswear. In the ‘70s, Gert’s son Tim Boyle took over operations. Her grandson Joe Boyle is Columbia’s brand president.

The company has been expanding its product line since that time, and with the acquisition of Sorel and other companies, has become one of the world’s leading leisure and sports clothing and shoe companies. They’re known for their technical fabrics, including thermal outerwear that is popular among skiers.

A recent Marketplace segment profiled problems that Columbia and other clothing manufacturers faced with tariffs, pointing out that by adding a small pocket to some shirts, known as a “nurse pocket,” the company could avoid tariffs on them. Tim Boyle is an outspoken critic of Donald Trump’s trade and immigration policies.

Columbia’s decision to invest in expansion in Cedar Mill is great news, and we congratulate them on the acquisition.



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Published monthly by Cedar Mill News LLC
Publisher/Editor:Virginia Bruce
PO Box 91061
Portland, Oregon 97291
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