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Oregon Business & Industry, in partnership with Here is Oregon, is excited to announce the second annual Coolest Thing Made in Oregon contest, in which Oregonians will vote for the coolest thing manufactured in the Beaver State. Finalists will be chosen from a list of products nominated by the public to appear in a bracket-style tournament, and four rounds of voting will produce a winner. The winning manufacturer will receive formal recognition and, more importantly, enjoy bragging rights for producing Oregon’s coolest thing.

The window to nominate products will remain open until July 12. The 16 finalists will be announced in September, and the winner will be announced at OBI’s Vision Oregon Event on Oct. 23.

Developing a list of finalists won’t be easy. Oregon’s manufacturing sector employs more than 214,000 people in Oregon and contributes $33 billion annually to the state’s gross domestic product, according to a 2021 ECONorthwest study funded by OBI. You don’t get numbers like this without manufacturing a lot of things, in terms of both volume and variety.

Oregon’s manufacturing sector has helped make the state an export powerhouse. As noted in OBI’s inaugural Oregon Competitiveness Book, the per-capita value of Oregon’s exports was the nation’s third highest in 2022. Oregon exports more than $8,000 in goods for every one of the state’s residents. The value of Oregon’s exports topped $34 billion in 2022.

Manufacturing pays well, too. On a per-hour basis, manufacturing workers in Oregon made more than those in 39 states in 2021.

Freres Engineered Wood’s Mass Ply Panels won the inaugural Coolest Thing Made in Oregon contest. 

More information about the contest is available on OBI’s Coolest Thing Made in Oregon web page, which will feature all updates. 

To qualify for the Coolest Thing Made in Oregon contest, products must be manufactured substantially within Oregon and be legal to buy in all 50 states. Anyone can nominate a product, and manufacturers are encouraged to do so. Nobody knows how cool a product is more than the people who make it.