Portland is home to one of the largest immigrant and refugee populations in Oregon. According to research conducted by the New American Economy, 13.5% of the city’s population are immigrants, compared to nearly 10% statewide.
Immigrants and refugees are important contributors to our city’s economy, culture, and community and play an important role as job creators, making up 32.9% of business owners in the hospitality industry, Portland’s restaurant, bar, and hotel scene. At the same time, immigrant workers serve in essential industries and carry out vital roles that keep Portland functioning. Immigrants comprise more than 21.1 percent of all Restaurant and Food Service workers and 20.1 percent of all Transportation and Warehouse workers in Portland.
Although these communities contribute immensely to our culture and economy, they continue to face barriers and inequitable access to our city's services. The Immigrant and Refugee Program works to strengthen our partnerships with the immigrant and refugee communities because we believe all Portlanders should have a seat at the table and have equal access to our City’s services. The program activities include:
- Bridging relationships: The Immigrant & Refugee Program's New Portlanders Policy Commission works with the City to make sure its policies and programming are inclusive and reflect the needs of Portland's immigrant and refugee communities.
- Advocating for policies: Our program collaborates with communities, elected officials, and bureaus to advocate for city, state, and federal policies and resources that advance immigrant and refugee rights and support immigrant integration.
- Serving as a resource: Our program staff works with city council, city bureaus, and community partnersto build effective programs, policies, and services for Portland's immigrant and refugee communities.
Promote the Common Good: Civic Life is building stronger communities by supporting and empowering Portlanders. We think, act, and partner with our communities to better understand and take care of their diverse needs. We invite you to join us in this continuous, much needed work to make our communities safer and more welcoming for all.