support businesses large and small that reflect their
Small, independent, local and unique are all qualities
in businesses that Portlanders appreciate. Although
people feel the city has an entrepreneurial environment
that lends itself to new and innovative start-ups,
there is great concern over current tax and licensing
policies, which are seen as adversely impacting small
businesses. As a result, many businesses are moving
out of the city limits as a way to sustain themselves.
People have noticed that this trend has taken a toll
on downtown and other nearby areas and would like
to see a much friendlier environment that helps recruit,
grow and retain businesses.
Portlanders have differing opinions on whether to
spend public funds or offer financial incentives to
encourage large businesses to come to our city. Some
argue that in order to improve government relations
with businesses and to increase employment opportunities
for Portlanders, the City should provide tax incentives
that attract corporate headquarters and big businesses.
Others entirely oppose large corporations and chains,
and believe we should actively fight to keep such
companies out of Portland if they go against broadly
expressed community values. Still others appreciate
large businesses that give back to the community,
and they call on the private sector to donate time
and money to civic betterment (for instance, by providing
funds to support schools). Portlanders would also
like to see more commitment from companies, especially
larger ones, to adopt cutting-edge, “green,” sustainable
People value the wide diversity of business and
industry sectors in Portland.
Portlanders value small, independent businesses
as well as larger businesses that retain their connection
to the community.
- City policies should
make it easier for individuals to both start and
sustain small, independent businesses.
- Minority businesses should
be assisted in overcoming barriers to their development.
- Particular neighborhoods
and areas of Portland need more business growth.
- The role and responsibility
of businesses should extend into the community.
- Neighborhoods should
have fewer businesses that detract from community
- Should the City of Portland
spend public funds on recruiting businesses to the
value the wide diversity of business and
industry sectors in Portland.
- Business sectors and industries Portlanders
mention appreciating include:
- High technology, particularly semiconductors,
display systems and software;
- Sporting goods;
- Creative Services;
- Nursery products;
- The wood products industry, which
has retooled to produce a diverse range
of value-added wood products;
- Portland’s market leadership in specialty
foods, wines and microbreweries.
value small, independent businesses as well
as larger businesses that retain their connection
to the community.
- Many Portlanders prefer to support small,
independently-owned businesses that are
unique to Portland.
- However, respondents also highly value
larger businesses, such as New Seasons,
that embody the same traits that people
associate with smaller businesses, including:
- A concern for the well-being of their
- Awareness of the impact of their products
and business practices have on the environment;
- The willingness to pay living wages
and provide employees with good benefits;
- A commitment to giving back to the
communities in which they are located;
- A willingness to offer products that
may not be mainstream, but that align
with the tastes and values of Portlanders;
- A sense of accountability to the community
that prevents them from engaging in
harmful business practices.
business keeps the economy going. My
dad was part of a family business. There’s
a sense of responsibility that comes
from being local. Small business adds
personality to neighborhoods.”
new businesses to build our economy.
Not just anybody though—businesses that
hold the values of the Northwest (love
the environment, art, and are socially
responsible). Don’t allow businesses
to exploit our land, people, or sense
policies should make it easier for individuals
to both start and sustain small, independent
- There needs to be a balance between supporting
well-established businesses and assisting
- Many business people say they have to
leave Portland because City taxes and/or
policies prevent their businesses from thriving.
- Respondents want to see the City provide
significantly more support to small businesses,
emerging businesses, minority-owned businesses
and businesses that employ "green" practices.
- Tax incentives should be used to encourage
- Implement sustainable practices;
- Train and hire hard-to-employ workers
such as high school drop-outs, formerly
homeless people and former convicts;
- Remain in gentrifying neighborhoods
and continue to serve long-time residents.
wish the business taxes weren’t so onerous—lots
of small businesses are leaving for
the surrounding towns.”
am about to leave PDX even though I
grew up here and it is my home town.
I have a small business and I am being
taxed out of my business and my home.”
to bend over backwards to companies
that threaten to leave Oregon if the
city doesn’t give them whatever they
want – if they care about doing business
in Portland, they can put in like the
rest of us, or move on! Let’s focus
our tax incentives on starting and growing
business by Oregonians, committed to
- “I want to see a higher success
rate for some businesses through more effective
and accessible training—my dream would be
to have 85 percent of small businesses succeed
rather than fail.”
- Provide community members loans
to open small businesses and increase the
ones that already exist.
- The City should offer trainings
to new business owners.
businesses should be assisted in overcoming
barriers to their development.
- Loan discrimination needs to be stopped,
and fair lending practices should be monitored.
- Respondents call for equal access to contracts,
technical training and assistance for minorities.
- They want to see more Black and other
minority-owned businesses in all shopping
- There should be more funding available
to assist minority-owned businesses
- Gentrification needs to be prevented because
it disproportionately affects minority
business owners and can force them to close
minority businesses, ensure fair lending
practices to minorities.”
like to see a more targeted effort to
have minority businesses to locate and
have some sustainability in the areas
that are growing so fast, such as Alberta
and Mississippi Avenues."
2030] Black, Asian, Latino, Eastern
European etc.. people go to the annual
blues festival, they also hold positions
in City government, own restaurants
and boutiques in the Alberta, downtown,
Chinatown, and the Pearl and they attend
high achieving schools.”
neighborhoods and areas of Portland need
more business growth.
- People want to see businesses fill the
- They want businesses to thrive and generate
more jobs as a result.
- Some people imagine businesses contributing
to large-scale, European-style shopping
districts along the east and west Willamette
- All neighborhoods should have commercial
centers where businesses are within walking
distance of homes.
downtown businesses of significant stature
to create employment opportunities and
role and responsibility of businesses should
extend into the community.
- People appreciate those businesses that
give back to the community, and expect more
to do so in the following ways:
- Schools: Contribute
to schools through funding or providing
internship and educational opportunities
- Arts: Provide funding
and support for the arts and establish
links with creative individuals and
- Social Services: Support
non-profit programs working to alleviate
social issues such as homelessness.
Also, directly address these issues
- Being willing to hire and train
“hard to hire” individuals such
as former felons and individuals
with limited formal education;
- Hiring individuals transitioning
out of homelessness; and
- Providing adequate pay and benefits
to employees so they can afford
a place to live and be healthy.
- Sustainability: Businesses
should have a stake in the local sustainability
movement in terms of how they operate,
treat employees, what products are sold
and in their treatment of the environment.
- Give incentives to employees and customers
to use mass transit.
good will can be an immense draw for
businesses … not just gentrification
or major shopping centers for the elite.”
would like to see the business community
take a cooperative problem-solving approach
rather than having a chip on its shoulder.”
2030] All middle school and high school
students use public transportation because
businesses contribute $5 million for
bus passes for every PPS middle and
high school student. This is a worthwhile
investment and it will help the environment
while building citizens that rely on
- “Try to link every school with
one or more business sponsors. Encourage
each of the 50 largest businesses in Portland
to adopt an elementary school.”
- “Provide programs to encourage
the homeless to get back into the work force.
See if local business will contribute to
such a program.”
- Businesses should contribute
money to student bus passes.
should have fewer businesses that detract
from community and livability.
- Respondents want to see more services
and basic community infrastructure such
as parks and quality grocery stores in place
of adult entertainment businesses and payday
- Some people mention wanting to rid neighborhoods
of the illegal drug scene, prostitution
and strip clubs, as they are counter-productive
to community building efforts.
the sex industry much more...since Portland
has one of the largest sex industries
in the country. These objections come
from the near slave-conditions and violence
that most sex industry-workers endure…”
appreciate that we have great freedom
of speech, but am not proud of our sex
industry and would like to see our image
as a good city for businesses of low
repute be changed somehow--preferably
from within in regards to developing
a healthier and more respectful moral
environment around gender."
up the streets of drugs and prostitution
and strip clubs will bring a more close
- The City should have zoning codes
that regulate strip clubs and other sex
- Should the City
of Portland spend public funds on recruiting businesses
to the area?
Some community members believe that the City
should take an active role in recruiting different
types of businesses to the Portland area. They
believe this is necessary in order to create a
more diversified local economy, to provide additional
job opportunities to local residents and to reduce
Portland’s reliance on products made elsewhere.
While some of these people have a strong preference
for which types of businesses Portland should
recruit (for example, only those that pay living
wages, or those that are part of the sustainable
industries cluster), all favor an active, engaged
approach on the part of the City.
However, another large group of people feels
that the City should not spend public funds on
business recruitment. These individuals strongly
believe that Portland should focus its public
funds on making the City a livable place (good
schools, clean environment, etc.) and on supporting
home-grown businesses and industries. They contend
that if Portland creates a successful environment
for local industry, other businesses will want
to relocate here and will not need to be enticed
with public funds.