Wheeler and Rubio Partner to Pass Business Incentive Tax Credit to Revitalize Portland’s Central City

News Article

As part of ongoing efforts to revitalize the central city, Portland City Council today unanimously passed a business tax incentive to encourage businesses to lease office and retail space. The emergency ordinance was co-introduced by City Commissioner Carmen Rubio and Mayor Ted Wheeler.

By meaningfully incentivizing businesses to stay in or come to Portland, the program will boost central city foot traffic, spending in small businesses, and public space activation, accelerating Portland’s road to recovery.

“We have acted in a number of ways to help Portland recover. But bolder action is needed right now to be responsive to the moment we are in,” Commissioner Rubio said. “Know that your city government is willing to consider a lot of things — in balance with maintaining the services people rely on every day. Ideas like incentivizing office lease renewals can help our most distressed areas of the central city and help surrounding businesses with increased foot traffic.”

To be eligible for this credit, businesses must enter into a new lease or extend a current lease for a period of four years or more, and attest to having returned workers to the office on at least a half-time basis. The eligible sub-districts of the central city include Downtown, Lower Albina, the Lloyd District, and Old Town/Chinatown. Each of these areas was designated as hardest hit during the pandemic by quantitative economic analysis performed by ECONorthwest.

The program will allow each eligible business a credit for the full amount of business license tax owed in one year up to a maximum of $250,000 per taxpayer in total benefit, taken over four subsequent years. The overall program is capped at $25 million total. By requiring eligible businesses to maintain at least 15 employees, the program will also allow smaller businesses to qualify. 

Mayor Wheeler added: “This is a bold and unprecedented action to achieve significant positive economic impact and revitalize our city’s core. Our central city is our state’s economic engine, our community’s meeting place, our arts and culture hub, and a primary destination for many of our visitors. Alongside our safety and livability efforts to recover our central city, this program will continue to drive urgently needed vibrancy into the core of our community.”


Jimmy Radosta

Communications Director for Commissioner Carmen Rubio

Cody Bowman

Communications & Social Media Specialist