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Nike rival Under Armour opens Portland office

Portland Business Journal

April 26th 2013

One of Nike Inc.'s biggest competitors is setting up shop in the company's backyard.

The Business Journal has learned that Baltimore, Md.-based Under Armour Inc. is staffing up a shoe and design center in Portland.

The company did not immediately return a call for comment.

Under Armour already employs at least two in Portland, according to a search of LinkedIn profiles. The employees include Justin Klahn, who previously worked in Advanced Innovation at Nike.

Under Armour has three job openings in Portland posted on its website: senior development manager for outdoor footwear, director of sourcing and development for footwear and outdoor footwear design.

The outdoor footwear design job is based in the company's Portland design studio, according to the job posting.

"It speaks to the strength of the cluster," said Portland Development Commission spokesman Shawn Uhlman.

When reached Friday afternoon, Uhlman was unaware of Under Armour's new presence in Portland. He did not know of any benefits given to Under Armour to moves jobs to Portland.

A Portland design center makes sense. The city is a hotbed of design talent because of its proximity to Nike, Columbia Sportswear Co. and the North American headquarters of Adidas.

Several companies located in other states maintain Portland design offices, including Merrell and Amer Sports.

In 2010, the Business Journal reported on the city's efforts to lure Under Armour to Portland. The story was based on documents the Business Journal obtained through a public records request with the Portland
Development Commission.

The city's 2010 efforts included a recruiting trip to Baltimore by then-Greenlight Greater Portland CEO Tim Priest and a representative of the Port of Portland.

At the time, Portland's efforts to woo Under Armour seemed to be coming up short.

Under Armour's top executives rejected an offer to meet with then-Mayor Sam Adams about setting up a design center in Portland.

Under Armour employs 5,900. It had $1.8 billion in 2012 revenue.