Beaverton and Hillsboro are Portland’s two main suburbs to the west, out along Highway 26. Or, if you read the business section of the newspaper first, Beaverton is the home of Nike and Hillsboro is the home of Intel. And, if you are an LGBT executive, Beaverton is the home of Nike, which makes fabulous, functional shoes, and Hillsboro is the home of Intel, which allows your computer to take you to great websites like mine.

The Beaverton/Hillsboro corridor is such a hot center for industry that it has become known as the “Silicon Forest.” In addition to the Intel headquarters, Hillsboro is home to facilities for Yahoo!, Epson, Sun Microsystems, Genentech and many other tech companies.

Because of the diversity created by the large companies drawing a wide variety of people to the jobs, plus the proximity to wineries and farmlands, the Beaverton/ Hillsboro area is much more than a boring suburb. There are farmers markets a plenty and some say the best Indian and Chinese restaurants in all of the Portland Metro area. And, my friends who golf swear by the courses in Washington County. The high-end shopping at Cedar Mills and The Streets of Tanasbourne and fun outings to the many parks will keep you occupied when not busy at work or around the house.

While neither city–or the surrounding ‘burbs — feature any LGBT-specific bars or diversions, there is a large number of queer households in Washington County, thanks in part to the large employers, many of which have progressive employment policies and benefits. The Beaverton/Hillsboro chapter of PABA, the Portland Metro area LGBT chamber of commerce, is a thriving networking group drawing gay and gay-friendly professionals each Thursday morning.

Whether LGBT or straight, what draws people to the area are the jobs and the nice suburban neighborhoods. The housing stock tends to be newer than the classic neighborhoods of Portland. You will also find a lot of rentals, due to the influx of new employees at these companies.

Now, a lot of people in Portland have never even been to Beaverton, let alone Hillsboro. It’s high time to make a trip out there. The Red and Blue MAX lines take you right there. Who is up for a Guerilla Queer Brunch at Café Murrayhill or Tom’s Pancake House?