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Portland City Council approves five-year ‘Advance Portland’ inclusive economic development strategy

Press Release
Plan is a framework for inclusive growth through advancing competitiveness, racial equity, and climate action.

The Portland City Council has unanimously approved, with a 5-0 vote, the Advance Portland inclusive economic development strategy, guiding the city’s economic development work for the next five years. The Advance Portland plan provides a framework for inclusive growth through interventions that advance competitiveness, racial equity, and climate action.

Led by Prosper Portland in collaboration with Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, Advance Portland includes a comprehensive assessment of economic strengths and challenges: In the decades before the pandemic, Portland’s accelerated growth through attraction of skilled labor enabled the economy to flourish, but insufficient business growth and housing production during that time created the challenging economics Portland is experiencing post-pandemic. With particularly adverse impacts on BIPOC communities, the Central City, and East Portland, and population decline for the first time in 40 years, the city can no longer take growth for granted. Building on Portland’s economic assets, private, community, and public partners identified urgent and longer-term interventions needed to create a more prosperous, vibrant, and inclusive city.

Advance Portland: A Call to Action for Inclusive Economic Growth is a focused plan to collectively deliver inclusive and sustainable economic growth through four key objectives:

  1. Propel Inclusive Economic Growth and Innovation in key traded sector clusters and expand green products and services while addressing barriers to growth.
  2. Promote Equitable Wealth Creation by supporting BIPOC-owned small businesses and entrepreneurs to start and grow businesses through partnerships, capital, and support.
  3. Foster a Vibrant Central City and Commercial Districts with tailored strategies to create vital centers of employment, small business, entertainment, and cultural amenities.
  4. Connect Portlanders to High-Quality Jobs in Future-Ready Sectors through industry-based and industry-driven job training and improved proximity to quality jobs.

Mayor Ted Wheeler said, “I am proud to advance this work. Our future relies on intentional and strategic growth where we redefine and rebuild our own success. I ask all Portlanders to review the plan, share with their neighbors, colleagues, and friends and join us in supporting this plan for our future.”

Commissioner Carmen Rubio said, “I believe in the collaboration and partnership that brought us to this milestone, and I look forward to working across private, public, and community sectors to implement this plan and create a better Portland for all of us.”

Implementing Advance Portland will require leadership, funding, and engagement from a broad consortium of public, private, and community-based organizations. Accordingly, Council has directed that the following be completed by July 2023:

  • Establish an Advance Portland Steering Committee representing this consortium to established to monitor progress, support mutual accountability, and advise on implementation.
  • Launch TIF exploration processes, starting with East Portland.
  • Formalize clean energy initiative partnership.
  • Establish formal process to evaluate economic and financial impacts of proposed regulations on private parties.

Additionally, an Implementation Task Force for City-led actions will ensure progress, address challenges, support coordination, and identify resources needed for implementation.

Additional quotes:

“Addressing climate change can be a powerful economic driver, creating new opportunities for innovation, investment, and job creation in sustainable industries,” said BPS Director Donnie Oliveira. “We cannot achieve racial equity or our climate goals without economic prosperity. BPS is proud to partner with Prosper Portland and all stakeholders to achieve our mission of creating a vibrant and healthy Portland we can all enjoy for generations to come.”

Kimberly Branam, executive director of Prosper Portland, said, “This plan will guide the city’s economic development work for the next five years and represents a true milestone moment for the city. I am proud of this plan, and I am confident we, along with a full array of public, private, and nonprofit partners, can achieve the goals laid out in the plan.”

Alando Simpson, founder and CEO, City of Roses Recycling, said, “I express my support, gratitude, and blessing for the Advance Portland Strategy. Over the years our city has written many plans and strategies only to come up short on outcomes as it pertains to business sustainability through the lens of ownership, growth, scale, and most importantly wealth creation in our communities of color. We have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to leverage all the resources available to us from the federal, state, and local government to create a world-class city by standing up a sustainable economic development model that will carry us through the remainder of the 21st century. As a fourth-generation Portlander of color and someone who has been involved in a variety of areas across this city, region, and state, it is even more important to me that we get this right and we go all in.”

Jan Mason, chair of Greater Portland Economic Development District, president of Philippine American Chamber of Commerce of Oregon (PACCO), said: “I applaud Prosper Portland leadership and the numerous bureaus and team members who worked to create this economic plan. We can achieve beyond our aspirations. I look forward to continuing to work with city officials and organizations to help Portland and our entire region become an equitable, forward-looking community. Let’s hold each other accountable in making our community a welcoming and attractive place.”

Tamara Kennedy, director of economic development, Port of Portland, said, “We recognize the enormous challenges facing our city, and the critical role Portland plays in Oregon’s economic health. By prioritizing inclusive economic growth and climate action, this strategy sets the right tone for our times. The Port is fully committed to ongoing partnership in further planning and implementation. Together, we will continue to demonstrate that a healthy economy is both equitable and competitive — and that Portland’s best days are to come.

“Advance Portland recognizes the interconnected nature of economic development, racial equity, transportation, and land use, thus compelling policymakers to think more holistically and balance sometimes conflicting priorities. Notably, the strategy speaks to Portland’s business climate and opportunities for balanced leadership on topics ranging from land use and permitting to taxation. Implemented well, this strategy will foster better outcomes across the many services the City of Portland provides — building and improving public trust.”

Lisha Shrestha, executive director, Division Midway Alliance (DMA), said, “East Portland is in critical need of investment in safety, green space, a community center, transportation, affordable housing, and anti-displacement policies. The DMA vision and Advance Portland are very much aligned, and we are pleased to see East Portland TIF exploration included in the strategy. We are ready to work in partnership to drive inclusive economic growth.”