Joseph Cortright

Director, City Observatory & Principal, Impresa
Advisor, Alice M. Rivlin Initiative

Joe Cortright is Director of City Observatory, a think tank focusing on urban economic issues.  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 is also principal of Impresa, a Portland based economic consulting firm specializing in urban and regional economics. He serves as Chair of the Oregon Governor’s Council of Economic Advisers, and is a research affiliate of the Upjohn Institute in Michigan. Cortright has served as a Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution.

Joe’s work casts a light on the role of knowledge-based industries in shaping regional economies. 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 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.