The City of Portland has the opportunity to make key investments in response to the COVID-19 pandemic with American Rescue Plan local relief funds.
Now is the moment to invest in and reimagine a city that is thriving and prosperous and centers underserved communities, especially Black and Indigenous people, people of color, Portlanders with disabilities, immigrants, refugees and undocumented Portlanders. Our actions today can help Portland emerge as a more equitable, vibrant and sustainable city.
What is the American Rescue Plan?
The American Rescue Plan, also known as the COVID-19 Stimulus Package or American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, is a $1.9 trillion economic stimulus bill signed into law in March 2021. The City of Portland will receive $207.9 million of local relief funds in two installments. The first allocation was received in May 2021, with the second expected in 2022. Categories eligible for relief include:
- Public health emergency and economic response, including assistance to households, small businesses and nonprofits, or aid to impacted industries such as tourism, travel and hospitality
- Government services, based on the reduction in revenue due to the pandemic
- Investments in water, sewer or broadband infrastructure
- Premium pay, up to $13 an hour, for eligible workers performing essential services to respond to COVID-19, capped at a maximum benefit of $2,500
City Council committed $40.4 million in American Rescue Plan funding in the Fiscal Year 2021-2022 budget approved in June 2021, and voted to allocate an additional $63.6 million in July 2021.
Over the next few months, programs will begin providing assistance to Portland community members and businesses. The American Rescue Plan delivery team will work with an implementation group for each program to review budgets and scopes of work, set up processes and communicate with Portlanders. Program launch dates will vary depending on timelines and complexity. It is anticipated that many programs will be ready to roll out this fall.
An additional $104 million of American Rescue Plan funding is expected to be available in 2022. City leaders will develop a process for allocating the second installment, incorporating lessons learned from the first process, the arc of the pandemic and recovery, and the impact of initial investments.
- Ground process, priorities and outcomes in the city’s core values of anti-racism, equity, in-language access and transparency to ensure benefits for Black, Indigenous and people of color communities and the most vulnerable Portlanders.
- Prioritize investments in relief and stabilization activities that are informed by data and address houselessness and houselessness prevention, community health and safety, and COVID 19 economic challenges for individuals, businesses and communities.
- Act as effective stewards of financial and other resources by ensuring the city can provide critical services, aligning investments with other public and private investments, including regional collaboration, and positioning the community for longer-term recovery.
Economic Relief and Stabilization Coordinating Council
The Economic Relief and Stabilization Coordinating Council formed in March 2021 to identify, coordinate and deliver on key economic relief and stimulus priorities in line with City Council direction, community input and near-term opportunities. The Economic Council coordinates across City bureaus to achieve shared priorities, reduce duplication and confusion, and provide options and recommendations to City Council. The City Council votes on American Rescue Plan investments.
Members of the Economic Relief and Stabilization Coordinating Council include:
- Kimberly Branam, Prosper Portland (Co-convener)
- Shannon Callahan, Portland Housing Bureau
- Shannon Carney, Office of Commissioner Mingus Mapps
- Andrea Durbin, Bureau of Planning and Sustainability
- Rebecca Esau, Bureau of Development Services
- Briannon Fraley, Office of Government Relations
- Jessica Kinard, City Budget Office
- Michelle Kirby, Bureau of Revenue and Financial Services
- Adena Long, Parks & Recreation
- Jim McKenna, Office of the Governor
- Tom Rinehart, Chief Administrative Officer (Co-convener)
- Dr. Markisha Webster, Office of Equity & Human Rights
- Gabe Solmer, Water Bureau
- Chris Warner, Bureau of Transportation
- John Wasiutynski, Multnomah County
- Sonia Schmanski, Mayor Ted Wheeler’s Office
- Kristin Johnson, Office of Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty
- Kellie Torres & Chariti Montez, Office of Commissioner Dan Ryan
- Adriana Miranda, Office of Commissioner Carmen Rubio
Priority areas for the first round of local relief funds were based on American Rescue Plan eligibility, City Council priorities and Economic Recovery Task Force input.
Houselessness response and Household stabilization
Business and commercial district stabilization
Community health and safety
Program delivery and city services
Economic Recovery Task Force
Following Mayor Ted Wheeler’s declaration of emergency in March 2020, the City of Portland formed a COVID-19 Economic Relief and Stabilization Framework and identified teams to guide the city’s response to the economic impact of the pandemic through recommendations and collaboration.
Consisting of nearly 70 business, community, foundation, labor, public and workforce leaders, the Economic Recovery Task Force has been advising on collaborative economic stabilization and recovery interventions, including American Rescue Plan priority areas.
The City of Portland is convening five "action tables" to respond to Portland’s challenges. The people who join these tables will work together to identify and implement strategic solutions.
City bureaus have conducted engagement with their advisory bodies to inform their proposals. Reach out to City Commissioner offices with input on priority areas for future funding.