First year update: Portland Business Alliance and affiliates strategic plan

June 2024

This strategic plan encompasses four unique strategies that reflect the Alliance and the three affiliates. The Alliance plan serves as the governance and operational guiding star for the collective whole. The three plans of the affiliates direct the long-term strategy of the Portland Metro Chamber, Downtown Portland Clean & Safe, and the Charitable Institute, where Partners in Diversity and other programs reside.

Below is an update on the first year of all four 2023-2026 strategic plans.

Progress Scale


Portland Business Alliance

Best Practices in Governance

Assess and evaluate structural effectiveness through annual review of bylaws, board expectations, conflict policies and long-term investments.

  • Corporate hygiene project underway for PMC and DPCS
  • Board has reviewed and set objectives for long-term investments

Set and meet objectives for quality board(s) experience, including annual survey, goal setting, building connections, learning, etc.

  • Established board diversity goals and conducted research to set a baseline to track progress
  • Conducted annual boards survey and responded to feedback
  • Provided opportunities to network and socialize, building connections among board members

Best Practices in Workplace

Invest in expanded HR support.

  • Evaluate during budget season

Further create and maintain an equitable and inclusive workplace that supports all employees to be their best.

  • Staff adopted annual equity plans
  • Equity Council provided a progress report on equity plans to boards
  • Set goals for staff satisfaction survey and organizational response to survey feedback

Accountability to Strategic Plan

The strategic plan should be continually revisited so that staff and board(s) commit to its priorities and measure progress against stated goals.

  • Established Committee for Strategic Plan Accountability (C-SPA)
  • Developed tracking document to access strategic plan progress
  • Staff provided updates to C-SPA and boards to access how investment is spread across priorities

Downtown Portland Clean & Safe

Urgently Re-Activate Downtown

Set annual goals to improve sentiments on downtown through business survey measuring items such as feelings of cleanliness, safety, and services.

  • 2023 Downtown Business Survey
    • Obtained a satisfaction score of 75% for Janitorial Services
    • Maintained current 80%+ satisfaction score for Public Safety Services
  • 26% of hotels report feeling “somewhat safer” after the first 45 days of expanded Public Safety Coordinator presence within the Hotel Security District
  • Continue to work to increase positive media stories directly related to Downtown Portland Clean & Safe services

Develop a 3-year tactical plan, synced to the 5-year contract renewal date to align resources and create operational efficiencies to strengthen direct services provided.

  • Commenced a district-wide Safety Communication Center to maximize security resources and efficiencies, pending board approval
  • Cleared implementation of top security assessment recommendations for tangible safety improvements and efficiencies
  • Currently working to improve Janitorial Program dispatching services and establish a more efficient dispatch system for customers
  • Purchased a fleet of electric bicycles for cleaners
  • Assessed the first year of Street Outreach Team metrics to measure the impact and success of the program

Increase investment in systemic change through collaboration with Portland Metro Chamber advocacy efforts.

  • Hired a new Downtown Advocate Coordinator to address downtown-specific advocacy issues and challenges
  • Worked closely with PMC staff to restart and update the Central City Coalition group, which is guided by the leadership of the three Enhanced Service Districts

Reactivate downtown through programming and place-making activities.

  • Established a highly successful pilot project with Portland Parks Bureau to manage programming and placemaking activities in Director Park
  • Successfully launched and awarded four retail grants to support small businesses leasing space in the Downtown area
  • Continued holiday PDX Pop-Up Shop program with 9 locations, supporting 80+ small businesses
  • Currently in design MOU with Portland Parks Bureau and on track to take over programming and management of Darcelle XV in 2025
  • Street Tree Lighting and Holiday Lights continued to thrive and expand drawing thousands to downtown
  • Continued to support programming and seasonal marketing campaigns through the Visit Downtown Portland social media channels

Increase and formalize community engagement and education by establishing goals for communications channels and stakeholder education that aligns with direct services.

  • Established a Community Engagement Committee, which meets monthly
  • Updated outreach materials such as brochures and business cards
  • Set tentative date/venue for a first-time “Clean & Safe Open House” for National Night Out in August 2024
  • Planning a new “Annual Ratepayer Meeting”
  • Continued involvement in the annual Appreciation Day event

Enhance the board of director’s positive and productive culture through board development.

  • Executive Board has reviewed and updated “board expectations” to ensure individual Board members are actively engaged and meeting participation expectations
  • Started board social events to build stronger relationships and collaboration
  • Ensured the agenda includes time for open discussion and promoting constructive dialogue during and after meetings
  • Will continue this work in 2024 and ensure board diversity and ratepayer representation are more aligned with by-laws

Portland Metro Chamber

Advocacy: Downtown & Central City Reactivation

Support Downtown Portland Clean & Safe by advocating on their behalf to hold the city accountable and advance policy objectives determined by the board and staff.

  • Hired a new Downtown Advocate Coordinator to address downtown-specific advocacy issues and challenges
  • Established a renewed Central City Coalition with broad stakeholder support (25 organizations participating)
  • Chamber staff are closely auditing ESD contract and scope-of-work compliance, while building strong partnerships with key bureau staff to achieve compliance

Encourage employers to bring employees back to offices downtown.

  • Employee foot traffic has increased to a level commensurate with standard workplace policies
  • Economic analysis shows that pandemic-related remote working policies have remained durable and created a baseline

Expand and attract the employer community to restore economic vibrancy.

  • Successfully advocated for Central City business incentives
    • $25 million business licensed credit for new and renewed leases
    • Central City approved as an Enterprise Zone
    • Central City TIF district development approved
    • Exploring Downtown Portland Clean & Safe district expansion

Advocate to densify housing in the Central City to grow the residential population.

  • Council and legislature passed commercial-to-residential conversion incentives
  • Council adopted permitting consolidation reform ordinance
  • Council adopted housing deregulation ordinance
  • Successfully secured $12 million in state investment and $10 million in city investment for OMSI District and Broadway Corridor

Support Downtown Portland’s reputation recovery by advancing positive earned media with emphasis on travel, tourism, and hospitality sectors in support of increasing visitor-ship.

  • Managed and leveraged Visit Downtown Campaign assets
  • Established the Clean & Safe Hotel Security District
    • Reported crimes in downtown have plummeted since the district was established
  • Working to develop outreach materials with City/Prosper Portland/ORLA to highlight improvements and positive changes
  • Highlighted proactive activation, events and positive earned media across the Chamber and Clean & Safe owned media platforms

Advocacy: Taxes

Reform taxes to retain and grow local companies and attract business and talent.

  • Led campaign and defeated capital gains tax measure (defeated 80%-20%)
  • Aligned all regional business tax policy to market sourcing
  • Supported Governor’s Central City Task Force recommendation for a 3-year tax moratorium
  • Support Prosper Portland’s recommendation to require economic impact analysis for new taxes and fees to the Portland City Council
  • Leveraged 10-year sunset secured in 2020 to negotiate SHS reforms that would go to voters
  • Successfully advocated for Central City business incentives

Advocacy: Additional Focus

QUALITY OF LIFE: Ensure accountability from the regional governments for restoring livability with an emphasis on the City of Portland, but also the region, through the delivery of quality basic services.

  • Led creation and funding for Vehicle and Retail Theft Task Forces
  • Time, place, and manner ordinance was adopted by Portland City Council
  • Secured state and county funding for city Temporary Alternative Shelter Sites
  • Secured funding to build a front-line homeless service workforce and develop a 24/7 first responder sobering drop-off center
  • Secured $25 million for 24/7 Multnomah County Sobering Center
  • Potential SHS reforms could include a clearly stated goal to end unsheltered camping/camps

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT: Engage in economic development strategy and implementation, as well as project support.

  • Helped develop and pass an Advance Portland economic development strategy aligned with the Chamber’s priorities
  • Portland City Council passed permitting consolidation ordinance
  • Advocated for OMSI Development ($10m secured from the City)
  • Leading development of clean industry hub and industry-led decarbonization v. regulation

INFRASTRUCTURE: Be a leading voice for investment and maintenance of a modern infrastructure system, necessary for economic vitality, focusing on freight movement and I-5 corridor efforts.

  • Engaged on Regional Tolling Advisory Committee and Interstate Bridge Replacement (IBR) Advisory Committee
  • Secured $1 billion in state funding for IBR
  • Supported securing a $600 million federal grant, the largest in U.S. history
  • Supported a $450 million grant secured for Rose Quarter cover
  • Supported a $400 million mega grant for the Rose Quarter
  • Authored joint letter of support with Seattle Metro Chamber for a $1.5 billion IBR BIP grant
  • Negotiated market-based diesel fuel phase-out ordinance
  • Supported Fixing Our Streets ballot measure renewal

CHARTER REFORM: Influence positive charter reform outcomes for city government.

  • Charter reform measure passed with very few opportunities to influence implementation
  • Planning for success under the new election system and government structure
    • The new Office of Small Business Services was established and funded by the Mayor
    • Successfully advocated for ESDs and downtown marketing to be shifted to Prosper Portland under charter reform
    • Continuing to advocate for sanitation services
    • Continued engagement to keep permitting consolidation on track

CLIMATE CHANGE: Engage the private and academic sectors as active partners around climate change policy that strengthens the economy and meets emissions goals.

  • Co-sponsored information exchange with Denmark
  • Co-leading development of Clean Industry Hub and industry-led decarbonization v. regulation
    • Charitable institute under discussion for a formal home for Clean Industry Hub.
  • Negotiated market-based phase-out of diesel fuel
  • Advocated for $100 million Portland Clean Energy Fund program for “green business”

FEDERAL: Continue to lead Portland and Oregon’s federal trip with our statewide partners and seek partnerships with additional PNW business associations.

  • Successfully completed 2024 DC Fly-in with a record 140 participants in partnership with Seattle Metro Chamber and Vancouver Chamber (10 elected officials or representatives participated)

Advocacy: Elections

Establish a new partner organization dedicated to supporting pragmatic, solution-oriented leaders through research, training and broad coalitions.

  • Established United for Portland, an independent 501(c)(4) non-profit organization
    • Formed board of directors, budget and completed incorporation
    • Research and planning underway
    • Funded robust campaign in support of pragmatic candidates for Multnomah County Commission

Member Engagement & Program Services

Broaden engagement to fulfill our external brand position of “Building Bridges” by renaming to Portland Metro Chamber, executing rebrand and membership dues restructuring.

  • Launched a new name, brand and website at the 2023 Annual Meeting and across all owned media channels
  • Sent new brand announcement to all members and posted across social media
  • Continue to support Chamber brand integrity and consistency across all digital and print assets, based on the style guide
  • Implemented new membership structure and price increase

Grow small business membership and engagement to attract and retain small business members.

  • Implemented of “Small Restaurant and Retail” discount that brought in 100+ new members into the organization
  • Supported small business membership through the Comcast RISE grant
  • Increased marketing support via regular member spotlights and other engagement activities while leveraging our ad trades

Continue to actively inform members on policy positions by communicating where we stand and the process behind decisions.

  • Collaborated closely with the Public Affairs team to continually update our members on policy issues that impact business and that the Chamber has an active role
  • Continued to feature the work of the Public Affairs team across all owned media channels (website, social media and email), specifically, by creating an Advocacy News section in our monthly newsletter and informing our social audience about this work

CIVIC ENGAGEMENT: Establish growth goals in Leadership Portland size, alumni engagement and pipeline for civic engagement on boards, commissions and task forces.

  • Working to articulate a “roadmap” for professional development across the many offerings within the Chamber programming
  • Integrated the “Best Practices” trip into the Chamber’s professional development programs
  • Near-record participation in Leadership Portland in 2024

Charitable Institute

Coordination of Focus Area

Develop a selection process for the Charitable Institute’s primary initiatives with the goal of enhancing the strategic purposes of the business community aligned with a defined mission, vision and values.

Explore micro-lending through gaps and feasibility analysis for the potential creation of the Community Development Financial Institution to support existing small business programming.

  • Began research to see how these programs have worked at other organizations

Convener of Charitable Activities

Collaborate with corporate foundations affiliated with PMC board companies to identify community needs and amplify philanthropic efforts of the business community.

  • Initial outreach has been done

Convene quarterly gatherings with multi-cultural chambers with a focus on education and engagement around policy and business issues, explore ways to amplify efforts, network and deepen relationships.

  • Portland Metro Chamber hosted a social gathering in May 2024

Provide Leadership on Existing Initiatives

Ongoing capacity-building support for the Black Business Association of Oregon.

  • Executive Director participated as an expert on a panel at the launch of the State of Small Business report
  • Actively supported securing Google grant of $50,000
  • Continued to support and broaden the reach of BBAO programs and initiatives

Oregon: The State of Sport Taskforce facilitation through a state-mandated and funded initiative.

  • Multiple requests and outreach to the State of Oregon have not initiated interest

Program & Affiliate Strategic Directions

Support opportunities as they arise to add additional affiliate or program partners.

  • Oregon Entrepreneur Network has moved into the PBA shared office, and is open to exploring a formal partnership
  • Best Practices trip partnership with Greater Portland Inc. was added under the Charitable Institute umbrella

PARTNERS IN DIVERSITY: Refine and expand programming, improve member benefits, services, and resources, and ensure operational excellence.

  • The new mission statement is to create economic prosperity in Oregon and Southwest Washington by working with employers to attract, retain, and develop professionals of color and diversity influencers
  • Worked with the Leadership Council to update the organization’s Strategic Plan

Supporting Documents