Joe Cortright, MPP

Joe Cortright, MPP

Principal, Impresa; Director, City Observatory

Advisory Council

Joe Cortright is principal of Impresa, a Portland based economic consulting firm specializing in cities, Its clients include city governments and national foundations from around the United States, and major corporations including Nike and Intel. Impresa has advised the National Governor’s Association, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development; Impresa principal Joe Cortright has served as a Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution and was named by Planetizen as one of the world’s 100 leading urbanists.

Joe Cortright is also director of City Observatory, a think tank focusing on urban economic issues founded with support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.  City Observatory produces original research on what makes cities successful in the 21st Century, and offers daily commentary on a range of issues including economic opportunity, urban transportation, housing affordability and neighborhood change at

Joe's work casts a light on the role of knowledge-based industries in shaping  regional economies.  His City Vitals report is widely used as a tool for benchmarking metropolitan progress.  Cortright has also written extensively on the migration of talented young workers among cities in a series of studies entitled The Young and Restless.  Cortright is an expert on industry clusters, having produced three studies published by the Brookings Institution, including detailed analyses of the geography of high tech and biotech clusters and a new, full-color comic book:  Clusters:  An Illustrated Introduction.   His work is quoted regularly in the media, in publications ranging from the Wall Street Journal and The New York Times to The Economist, Business Week and USA Today.

Prior to starting Impresa, Joe served for 12 years as the Executive Officer of the Oregon Legislature’s Trade and Economic Development Committee. Joe is a graduate of Lewis and Clark College and holds a Master’s degree in public policy from the University of California at Berkeley.