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Apple has quietly opened a secret engineering and research facility in northern Oregon — and is actively hiring staff to work there.
The secret facility is in Washington County, which is located in the Portland metropolitan area. Washington County has been nicknamed “Silicon Forest” for the number of technology companies located there. It’s also home territory for chipmaking juggernaut Intel, which has four campuses and nearly 20,000 employees in the area.
Since November, Apple has already hired about two dozen engineers to work there, poaching employees from Intel and other local tech firms, according to The Oregonian. The outlet based its report on job postings, social media, and a local source.
The Apple facility is reportedly located near the Beaverton and Hillsboro area, located west of Portland proper — though its exact location hasn’t been nailed down.
Still, it isn’t clear what Apple has planned for the mysterious site. The company is infamous for its secrecy culture, but there are some likely possibilities based on the area and the talent Apple is aiming for.
Notably, a number of the people hired by Apple had previously held engineering or research roles at Intel. Poaching employees from a chipmaker, of course, fuels further speculation that Apple is continuing to develop its own first-party processors and silicon for future Mac devices.
As further evidence of that, Apple job postings point toward Portland-based openings for roles that focus on design verification and validation for systems-on-a-chip (like Apple’s A-series) and other silicon-based hardware.
In other words, Apple may be opening up a chipmaking engineering or research facility in Intel’s own backyard.
The Oregonian points out that Apple isn’t new to the Silicon Forest area. It operates a large group of data centers in the area, as well as smaller teams and offices in Portland and nearby Vancouver, Washington. Apple’s Pacific Northwest facilities also include an expanding A.I. and machine learning hub in Seattle.
Apple also isn’t the only non-local company to maintain a presence in the area. Amazon, Google, and eBay also operate facilities there, thanks to the region’s high concentration of talent and the less competitive market.