Policy Agenda

Small Business

Supporting Portland’s small business entrepreneurs

Small businesses are a key driver of economic growth throughout Portland and the surrounding region. These businesses create jobs, support local suppliers, and reinvest profits back into the community. Entrepreneurism also is an avenue for promising economic advancement for Portlanders of any demographic background.

The Chamber is dedicated to supporting our small business community and building a dynamic economic ecosystem that encourages and rewards business creation.

Small Business and Economic Development Policy Priorities

1. Encourage a regulatory environment fostering critical development throughout the region

  • Remove all barriers to support the development of large-scale housing in Portland to meet future workforce and population needs, including a faster permit review process.
  • Reform and adopt policies to promote increased density within the Urban Growth Boundary to keep up with housing demand and make efficient use of existing infrastructure.
  • Metro should use real-world industrial needs and market-based constraints when calculating buildable land supply to match the need for housing, industrial, and employment land within our region.

2. Adopt policies encouraging technology and innovation

  • Prioritize the adoption of technology that supports smart city innovations, improving the everyday lives of all who live in our region.
  • Accelerate the adoption of 5G in Portland and surrounding areas, especially in historically underserved parts in our region, including North Portland and East Multnomah County, as a way to incentivize growth of high-wage jobs.
  • Create an Innovation Council within the City of Portland to support high-growth companies. Ensure that this council works with the mayor’s office, a representative from each bureau, and key business and technology stakeholders.

3. Create an economic landscape allowing small businesses to thrive

  • Support the reestablishment of a City of Portland Small Business Advisory Council.
  • Create a small business liaison within Prosper Portland. Centralize small business services and citywide resources within Prosper Portland, including trainings on finances and alternatives for funding and loans, Human Resources, hiring, and marketing.
  • Develop and implement affordable commercialleasing options for small businesses, including small business zoning ordinances that encourage a variety of square footages in commercial spaces.
  • Develop and implement programs to help small businesses move toward building ownership.

4. Support policies encouraging economic development throughout the entire region

  • Adopt updated cannabis-industry regulations and policies that establish objective timelines for license processing and business transfers, and enforcement reforms that avoid license cancellations for minor violations.
  • Support bringing a Major League Baseball team to the Portland region.
  • Support equitable economic development throughout the region; specifically, funding critical services to the highest need areas, especially East Multnomah County.
  • Advocate for the adoption of equitable state funding formulas designed to consider areas in need within high-population counties.

Small Business Council

Open to all Chamber members, this council serves as a forum for small business members to hear from and engage with government agencies regarding new programs and policies.

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