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Portland should work harder to support small business: Guest opinion

December 3, 2017View for printing

As small business owners, we love Portland. This is a city where neighborhoods are defined by their local business districts brimming with coffee shops, restaurants, boutiques and brew pubs. Locally-owned businesses play an integral role in building our strong local economy, while also giving back to their communities.

Yet we are concerned our elected leaders do not have a clear strategy to stimulate, sustain or engage Portland's thriving small business community.

The majority of the region's economic policies, programs and investments are obscure, difficult to access and geared toward firms with 50 or more employees. But in fact, 83 percent of Portland businesses have fewer than 10 employees.

Prosper Portland, formerly known as the Portland Development Commission, recently submitted a lengthy and detailed proposal to establish a second headquarters for Amazon. This is one of many examples where Portland is willing to spend a lot of energy to encourage a major corporation to relocate here. Yet local firms rarely receive similar opportunities or investments. We want the city to provide the same level of energy that goes into crafting such a proposal to assist small business owners who are currently creating good wage jobs.

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