October 18, 2011

City of Portland, PDC and Multnomah County

Mayor Sam Adams and Multnomah County Chair Jeff Cogen, in partnership with the Portland Development Commission, have announced three new initiatives that will infuse resources into underserved Portland-area neighborhood business districts.

Chair Cogen, speaking at today’s announcement event hosted by the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization, unveiled a county-wide microloan program as the first of the three initiatives designed to boost small business growth and neighborhood prosperity in priority areas of east Portland and Multnomah County.

“The poor economy continues to hit everyone in our community pretty hard, especially small and emerging businesses,” said Chair Cogen. “The microlending program we’re starting will provide a hand by helping these businesses get access to the capital they need to succeed. This is especially a must for people of color and immigrants who often face hurdles getting even small loans. This program will be accessible across the county to all people.”

In addition, Mayor Adams announced the Small Business Development Program, developed by the City of Portland and PDC to grow and strengthen existing small businesses through technical assistance and training. A total of $450,000 will be allocated among five non-profit organizations to support assistance for approximately 150-200 businesses over the course of the next year.

The third initiative, which the mayor originally outlined in his February 2011 State of the City speech as “neighborhood opportunity districts” is the Neighborhood Prosperity Initiative (NPI). The NPI will focus investments in priority neighborhoods to boost neighborhood business growth, provide economic development opportunities and improve community-wide prosperity. Six proposed areas – NE 42nd Avenue; Cully Boulevard; Parkrose; Rosewood; SE Division Street from 124th to 148th Avenue; and SE Division and 82nd Avenue – will use public and private funding for a continuum of services that position businesses for economic success. The final selection of areas in January 2012 will be based on milestones met, community interest and commitment.

“We are taking a huge step today. In the six short months since the City Council endorsed PDC’s Neighborhood Economic Development Strategy the PDC is moving these important initiatives forward,” Mayor Adams said.  “We’re committed to an equitable future for all Portland residents. To do that, we must change the way we invest, and the way we work with each other.”