Vibrant and Inclusive Community spaces

A picture of a pedestrian space with a colorful painted street, umbrellas and a sign that reads: Welcome - All are welcome here! This Public Street Plaza is a neighborhood gathering space open to all, with public seating, activities, and space for businesses and community uses. Then there is a photo of the city seal and the Portland Bureau of Transportation logo.
This project helps small businesses and nonprofits, through financial subsidy, technical assistance, and implementation of physical changes to their space to enable social distancing to meet public health orders and community expectations.
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Small businesses and business districts were disproportionately negatively economically impacted by COVID-19 through capacity restrictions to meet public health orders, resulting in a reduced number of customers, revenue loss, and business closure. Some businesses and communities experienced a drop in foot traffic due to extended working from home. The surrounding communities have been negatively impacted through social isolation, and a weakening of community bonds. This project and its sub-programs aim to boost business and community prosperity through reduced costs to businesses, boosting increasing community confidence in outdoor public spaces, encouraging community participation, and improving the built environment of the neighborhoods, and providing places to gather to reconnect people. 

More specifically, the project is designed to activate new and existing community spaces through multiple initiatives and programs: 

  • Reconfigure public right of way to create and program active plazas and public spaces, including long-term program development.  

  • Subsidize permitting-related fees and distribute financial awards to support community cohesion through events and activities.  

  • Develop and support “play streets” to encourage and promote COVID-safe, child-friendly outdoor community activity.  

  • Fund branding, awareness, and marketing campaigns to encourage community cohesion, pride, and participation. 

Who does this program serve?  

This program will serve Portlanders, especially small businesses, business districts and community groups looking to activate community spaces.  


October 2021: Program Launch 

March - May 2022: Partnership Outreach/Application 

May- August 2022: Spring/Summer Award and Activation Season 

Sept 2022: Coordination for 2023 

August 2023: All funds must be spent 

How do I apply for this program?  

  • The Community Events Activation Funds Program helps Portlanders (with a focus on BIPOC organizers and multicultural events) create community events through direct financial support.  

  • Street Plaza partnership opportunities will be announced in March 2022. Learn more at the PBOT Public Street Plaza website. 

  • Play Streets – coming soon!  

How is this program funded?  

The Vibrant and Inclusive Community Spaces program is funded by Portland’s $208 million allocation for the American Rescue Plan – a federal relief and recovery program enacted in 2021. City of Portland investments span three key priorities:  

  • Learn about Homelessness Response and Household Stabilization 

  • Learn about Small Business and Commercial District Stabilization 

  • Learn about Community Health and Safety 

This program supports Community Health & Safety as well as Small Business and Commercial District Stabilization.  

Who manages this program?  

The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) operates this program. PBOT is a community partner in shaping a livable city. PBOT plans, builds, manages, and maintains an effective and safe transportation system that provides people and businesses access and mobility. PBOT keeps Portland moving. 


The City of Portland is committed to sharing how American Rescue Act funding supports Portland people, households, businesses, and community organizations. Check back for updates on the Venture Portland Catalytic Investment Initiative.