Photography: Courtesy Columbia Sportswear Company

From cheese to don’t-leave-home-without-it multi-tools, Oregon companies produce something for folks from all walks of life.

Some of the most recognized brands in the world hail from the Beaver State. Here are a few highlights.

Folks who take pride in being handy most likely own or covet a Leatherman multi-tool or two. Known for packing many functions into intuitive, travel-friendly contraptions, the Leatherman brand is named after its creator, Tim Leatherman, an Oregon native and graduate of Oregon State University. He worked on his first multi-tool for several years before Cabela’s placed the 1983 order that helped create his company. Now Leatherman has grown to one of the most recognized toolmakers of its kind. It manufactures a wide variety of pocket-size products in Portland, including a bracelet that performs 29 functions.

Photography: Tillamook/Facebook

Ever since settlers in the mid-1800s figured out how well cows thrived on the Tillamook Valley’s abundant green grass, the area has produced top-quality dairy products. The rest of the world caught on when the area’s creameries came together to create the Tillamook County Creamery Association in 1909. That was the beginning of the Tillamook brand, which now ships cheese, butter, yogurt, ice cream, and sour cream to stores all over the globe.

Perhaps the best-known worldwide brand to originate from Oregon, Nike rose to prominence in the ’70s after building its business on the shoe designs of a former University of Oregon track coach (Bill Bowerman) and athlete (Phil Knight). Now with revenues in the double-digit billions, Nike continues to recognize both its Oregon roots and the culture that surrounds its home. Among the outreach programs to come from Nike’s Beaverton, Oregon, campus is the N7 Fund, a project that connects Nike and its products to Native American and aboriginal communities.

With experience in the grain industry and time on his hands, Bob Moore couldn’t resist buying an old mill in Oregon City, Oregon, shortly after moving there in 1978. There have been ups and downs since, including a fire that forced Moore to start over from scratch in the late ’80s. But Bob’s Red Mill is stronger than ever now, producing a wide range of grain, oat, and cereal products in a Milwaukie, Oregon, facility that’s open to public tours and even has its own restaurant.

Columbia Sportswear Company chairman Gert Boyle has been in charge of the widely recognized activewear brand for more than four decades. And she’s kept the mission simple: Make goods that keep you “warm, dry, cool and protected.” The company, now reaching customers on a global scale, has been headquartered in Portland since Boyle’s German immigrant parents arrived in the late ’30s, bought a hat company, and named it after the Columbia River.

Photography: By Travis Knopp Photography/Pendleton Woolen Mills/Facebook

It’s not difficult to see why Pendleton Woolen Mills has become synonymous with the culture and people of its home state — the textile and apparel company has stayed in the same family and grown consistently for six generations. And its aesthetic is as well-regarded as its stability — you can identify Pendleton trading blankets, apparel, and more by the colorful, traditional designs and patterns, valued and inspired by the Native communities with which Pendleton works closely. And tied as it is to tradition and family, Pendleton hasn’t been afraid of unique partnerships with the likes of Nike, Ugg, Timberland, and the American Indian College Fund.

For more on Oregon, pick up the July travel issue.

From the July 2017 issue.


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