Prosper Portland: Building an Equitable EconomyNew name, website reflect a focus on building an equitable economy

Contact: Shawn Uhlman, PDC, 503-823-7994

The Portland Development Commission announced a new name and a redesigned website today, both of which reflect the agency’s shift toward more inclusive economic development. As of today, the agency will be known as Prosper Portland, a name which speaks to the agency’s focus on sharing the gains of economic growth equitably.

“Today, Portland enjoys a more robust economy than we did five years ago,” said Kimberly Branam, Prosper Portland’s executive director. “And yet we continue to face disparities in income and opportunity across the city that must be addressed.”

In 2015, Prosper Portland released a five-year strategic plan to achieve widely shared prosperity among residents by harnessing and expanding the agency’s tools for job creation, place-making and economic opportunity. The agency’s new name and identity further demonstrate its commitment to use its programs and funding mechanisms to focus on four key areas:

  • Growing the numbers of quality jobs;
  • Creating and increasing access to healthy, complete neighborhoods across the city;
  • Advancing opportunities for residents to create wealth and prosperity; and
  • Partnering and collaborating with public and private sector organizations to ensure that all communities benefit from economic growth, especially communities of color and those historically underserved.

“Achieving widely shared prosperity would mean dramatic increases in the number of Portland households that can make ends meet. Working with private, public, and community partners, we are redoubling our efforts in support of growing quality jobs, healthy neighborhoods, and thriving small businesses,” said Branam.

Branam pointed to several Prosper Portland programs that have begun to address disparities in neighborhoods and among communities that in the past did not reap the benefits of economic growth, including:

  • Inclusive Startup Fund, managed by Elevate Capital, which provides early-stage investments in high-growth companies founded by underrepresented groups. Its first class of women, African American and Latino founders raised more than $6 million in follow-on investments.
  • North by Northeast Community Health Center. Supported by a Community Livability Grant, the center is the only clinic in Oregon focused on African-American health.
  • Partnership with SE Works on adult workforce development efforts such as PREP  (Prisoner Reentry Employment Program) and youth-focused apprenticeship programs.

“This change further underscores the shared focus of my office and Prosper Portland to build an equitable economy,” said Mayor Ted Wheeler.  “We are committed to delivering growth and opportunity for all Portland residents.”

Prosper Portland creates economic growth and opportunity for Portland. Our vision is to make Portland one of the most globally competitive, healthy, and equitable cities in the world by investing in job creation, encouraging broad economic prosperity, and fostering great places throughout the city. We aspire to be a workplace of choice with passionate staff excelling in an open and empowering environment and sharing a commitment to our collective success .