imagine a healthy, sustainable economy that benefits
Portlanders place great emphasis on the importance
of sustaining the local and regional economy and facilitating
the expansion of the small business sector. In this
section, people express appreciation for the diversity
of the city’s economy, which includes industries ranging
from high-tech to sporting goods to creative services.
Many respondents believe that Portland has great potential
for further economic growth.
The economy is viewed by respondents as being closely
integrated with quality of life and livability issues.
There is widespread agreement that Portland should
continue to make economic development decisions in
alignment with social equity and sustainability goals,
and they call for a more equitable distribution of
resources, whether it is affordable housing, quality
schools, improved public transportation or street
improvements in income-deprived neighborhoods. Many
people believe that expanding local industries to
reduce dependence on imported goods and services would
help boost our local economy. A smaller number of
people mention wanting to see Portland play a larger
role in the global economy.
main source of Portland’s thriving economy is and
should continue to be its local, small businesses.
economy of Portland has potential for growth.
- A sustainable economy
will contribute to Portland’s livability and quality
- Portland needs greater
- Should Portland focus
on promoting local, sustainable businesses or expanding
main source of Portland’s thriving economy
is and should continue to be its local,
- Many respondents appreciate the abundance
of locally owned and operated businesses
- Portlanders believe that, to a large
extent, local businesses demonstrate the
following positive attributes:
- They place value in the local environment
and take care to protect it;
- They are more invested in the communities
and neighborhoods where they are located;
- They create jobs for the community’s
- The products and services they offer
are tailored to match Portlanders' unique
tastes, as opposed to the “cookie cutter”
services offered by “big box” stores;
- They contribute to creating a diverse
economy that is not overly reliant on
one major business sector.
- Independent, locally-owned businesses
should be promoted and supported.
- Portlanders want to see an even greater
diversity of businesses and industry sectors
to help the economy “sustain through the
appreciate the diverse economic base
we have here (high-tech, agricultural
support, shipping, and fabrication/traditional
industry). The broad economic base
in Portland provides stability to
the local economy and is an asset
to the region.”
promotion of small, local businesses.”
economy of Portland has potential for growth.
- Portland is well positioned for further
economic growth and development.
- Respondents want to see the full potential
of this city and its residents “awakened.”
- The city needs to utilize the talent,
education and creative backgrounds
of all Portlanders.
- Any economic growth should be secure and
sustained over time.
- Many people see the need for Portland’s
economy to continue to integrate with the
region and want the City to prioritize infrastructure
improvements that support regional economic
the future] businesses have recognized
Portland is an excellent place for
large employers to locate, small
companies to thrive, and local businesses
to be successful. It should have
a much more diversified economy
than it has today."
new businesses to build our economy.
Not just anybody though—businesses
that hold the values of the northwest
(love the environment, arts, and
are socially responsible). Don’t
allow businesses to exploit our
land, people, or sense of community.”
- “Engage the region’s public and
private sector leaders in an ongoing dialogue
about what it will take for this region
to have a vibrant economy in the years ahead.”
- Provide a means and a public forum for
developing a widely shared understanding
of our economic challenges and opportunities
and outline the steps we need to take to
advance the region’s economy. Meet periodically
to assess our progress.
sustainable economy will contribute to Portland’s
livability and quality of life.
- Portlanders recognize that the economy
is the foundation of our livability. However,
they also understand that jobs and environment
are not either/ors.
- Many believe future economic growth
needs to incorporate economic, social and
environmental planning and development.
- Portlanders love that, overall, the city
seems to prioritize livability by balancing
economic development with preservation of
the city's natural beauty.
should have a mission to bring together
resources to achieve Portland’s
vision of a diverse, sustainable
community with healthy neighborhoods,
a vibrant urban core, a strong regional
economy and quality jobs for all
- Create an index to measure local
quality of life based on economic factors.
needs greater economic equity.
- Respondents assert that for the
economy to be stable, everyone must have
a stake in economic growth and have access
to its benefits.
- Portlanders want to see greater equity
in the following areas:
- The development of housing stock
that is affordable to people of all
- Wages that allow people who work
full-time to be able to afford to live
in Portland and enjoy a decent quality
- Equitable compensation for professions
that the community needs and values,
such as teachers, childcare providers,
janitors and others who help keep the
city livable; and
- A more equitable tax structure that
shifts some of the burden away from
small businesses and middle-income individuals
onto those who can afford to pay higher
taxes (see Government:
State and Local Taxes).
- Economic equity needs to be linked with
tangible outcomes for residents, such as
access to higher education and quality schools,
child care and affordable housing.
utilization and motivation of the
talented, educated, and thoughtful
of Portland's population."
Portland focus on promoting local, sustainable businesses
or expanding global trade?
What many Portlanders
value most about the city’s economy is the abundance
of small, local businesses. Some even think that
small businesses should lead the local economy,
and they see the potential for Portland’s economy
to become self-sustaining, replacing dependence
on foreign goods or other imports. One tension point
is in thinking about the interconnection of local
and global markets, even within the types of small
businesses many Portlanders desire to support. Some
businesses that appear to have sustainable, local
products may also maintain a relationship with the
global economy through import/export of goods, products
or other practices that reach beyond the local community.
What is the extent to which Portland can realistically
sustain itself, independent of the national or global
There is an
opinion expressed by a minority of respondents
that the expansion of global trade is absolutely
necessary for Portland’s future economy to thrive.
They see the need for economic growth through greater international
exports and imports, and want Portland to become
a metropolitan city with a stable economy based
on a strong traded sector. This group would think
it unrealistic for the city to have a self-sustaining
local economy driven only by small, independent
would like us to] focus on creating a truly
vibrant and self-sufficient local economy, and
shift jobs from the international capitalist
system to locally-owned anderated cooperative
one is working to ensure that there is a balance
of revenue creation (business and jobs) with
all the 'feel good' wants. No real economic
development is being encouraged. Lots of building
is going on but there’s no plan to attract or
retain business. Portland is anti-big business
but it’s big business that creates the jobs,
pays the taxes, has the ability to give back
to the community via charitable support, etc.”