When driving through Boring on Highway 212, the driver sees a gas station, a couple of taverns and hair salons, some automotive repair businesses, two small grocery stores and two eateries. On Highway 26, one sees another gas station, a tavern and two more eateries.
In addition to the grocery stores, eateries, salons and several automotive repair businesses, the local residents are served by Mt. Scott Fuel, Boring Bark and Landscape Materials and Boring Square Garden Center.
On the surface, the driver would assume this was just a small town with nothing more than these businesses and some houses.
It has always been assumed that Boring is a small bedroom district for the Portland area.
Neither of these assumptions is the case. There is more to Boring than meets the eye!
Boring has its own economy. People commute to Boring for business opportunities and jobs.
While many business owners live and work in Boring, a majority of all businesses in the Boring area are owned by persons who live elsewhere. In addition, it is now estimated that 40 percent of the workforce in Boring does not live in Boring.
The Boring area is considered a Rural Center. While this economy has an agriculture base, it also has a diverse industrial base. It is estimated that more than 25 percent of the business output of the Boring area is purchased by customers out of state.
For nearly 100 years, there has been a lumber mill in the downtown area. Vanport Manufacturing has a kiln works that prepares cut lumber for shipment. McGriff Lumber Company runs the local mill, filling orders for specialty cut lumber.
Beyond the business core area, there are several nursery farms, such as Hans Nelson and Sons Nursery, which specializes in Japanese maple trees. While many of the local nurseries ship locally, Hans Nelson and Sons ships 90 percent out of state.
At one time, this area was the strawberry capital of the west. Today, there are just a few berry farms left in Boring. Oregon Blues provides the opportunity to pick your own blueberries, while Bithell Foods tends 400 acres of various berry crops, shipping berries as far east as Georgia with their own fleet of delivery trucks.
Several machine shop businesses call Boring home. B. K. Precision Machining has Federal Aviation Adminstration certification and performs specialty machining for helicopter parts. Cascade Precision employs more than 30 people, providing custom machining and manufacturing of parts for Intel and Boeing as well as manufacturing its own line of hydraulic cylinders.
Specialty firms add to the diversity of the Boring economy. Parker Fire Protection provides design and installation of sprinkler systems in Oregon, Washington and California. Show Me Western Designs makes specialty clothing for equestrian enthusiasts, shipping product as far east as Michigan and Pennsylvania. Oregon Fire Equipment Co. brokers the sale of fire engines and parts to Alaska.
Project Metrics provides construction-site management for commercial development in Oregon, Washington, California and Alaska. Branding provides specialty advertising products for schools and businesses as well, shipping product all over the United States. Mt. Hood Polaris sells and services ATVs, snow machines and motorcycles with a customer base throughout the metro area and in Washington.
Construction contracting firms can be found in Boring: Cipriano and Sons, Clackamas Construction and Schroeder Electric to name a few. There are also professional architects and engineers in Boring: Kappertz Design and James R. Zachrison, Consulting Engineer. Specialty contractors such as All Terrain provide expertise and equipment for excavation and developing land on severe slopes.
Boring is not as boring as one would think. It is not just two golf courses and an opportunity for a pretty drive through the country.
Stephen L. Bates is the founder of Stephen L. Bates Enterprises and Oregon Fire Equipment Co. He currently is representative of the Boring, Oregon Business Coalition.