As the year begins to wind down, we want to share some updates on what’s been happening in the Portland Metro area.
Update on BHRC
As of Monday, Sept. 18, 2023, the Behavioral Health Resource Center (BHRC) launched a new process to maintain client access, while reducing a periodic queue that developed around the building as people waited for specific time slots. Peer staff from the Mental Health and Addiction Association of Oregon (MHAAO), the agency that operates the Day Center, will utilize peer support staff to engage community members at social service agencies in the Old Town area, offering peer-delivered services and giving tickets for time-specific entry to the BHRC. This new process should result in participants no longer waiting for services outside of the BHRC. In addition, there is a new mobile van site to help make referrals and connections in the neighborhood. Outreach teams have engaged more than 200+ groups of people around the BHRC location, with nearly half interested in connecting to BHRC services. Reports have shown of 77 people who’ve moved on from the shelter, 48 have been positive exits directly into bridge housing or other shelter locations.
City Launches New Downtown Business Incentive Credit Program
The City of Portland is offering a special incentive to bring businesses back to the heart of the city. By leasing downtown office and retail spaces, companies renewing or signing new leases can receive a credit of up to $250,000 over four years to reduce their business license taxes. A qualifying business must apply for the credit. The due date for submitting the application for tax year 2023 will be January 31, 2024. Don't miss out on this opportunity to revitalize the Central City and increase foot traffic by committing to have your employees in the office at least 50% of the time.
Local Restaurants Fight Health Inspection Fee Increase (and Win)
In late October, the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners heard a proposal to increase health inspection fees by over 20% in three years and voted it down. The increase as to cover the costs of administering county inspections and licensing for food, pool, and tourist facilities. Thanks to ORLA members and small business owners providing impactful testimony and written letters of opposition, the proposal didn’t pass. It was a great effort by the business community to show up and share the impact of increased fees in a trying time.
Enforcement Of Camping Ban Halted
After the ADA Lawsuit, the City of Portland is facing another lawsuit. Homeless Portlanders filed a class action lawsuit against the city, arguing that Portland's camping ordinance violates state law and the Oregon Constitution. In early November, a judge placed a temporary hold against the enforcement of Portland's daytime ban on homeless camps that was slated to start next week.
Take Downtown Clean & Safe Business Survey
Today it is even more important to collect information to better understand the economic impact 2023 has had on businesses and others throughout the city’s downtown core. Help identify the ways Downtown Clean & Safe can continue to support and improve the downtown business environment by completing their business survey by December 31, 2023. Honest answers are valued and appreciated, and individual responses are confidential. Take Survey.
Invitation to Engage with City Staff
The City of Portland continues to host Downtown Portland Problem Solver Meetings every two weeks with city staff over Microsoft Teams. The focus of these meetings is to hear from business owners and managers and help connect them to resources. If you’d like to attend, please inquire to get an invitation with Makenzie Marineau at email@example.com.
Good News to Share
Portland Kitchen Cabinet and Portland Lodging Alliance meetings will resume in the new year. If you’d like to get involved in your local leadership teams, email me at MMarineau@Oregonrla.org.
Makenzie Marineau is the Government Affairs and Regional Leadership Teams Coordinator for the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association. This Portland-focused blog intends to highlight the good news and work being done in Portland by ORLA and our leadership teams.