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Mayor Charlie Hales

City of Portland Mayor Charlie Hales

Phone: 503-823-4120

1221 SW 4th Avenue, Room 340, Portland, OR 97204

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Fire Bureau Supports Portland Sister City Guadalajara

Portland Connects with Sister City Guadalajara on Both Sides of the Border

THURSDAY, AUG. 28, 2014 — Mayor Charlie Hales this week talked livable cities with a delegation of business and government officials visiting from Guadalajara, Mexico — less than a week after Portland Fire & Rescue made its own splash in the sister city.

PF&R trucks roll into Guadalajara.

Since 1983, Portland has maintained the sister city relationship with Guadalajara through cultural, educational and economic exchanges. The delegation’s trip to Portland lays the groundwork for stronger ties — e.g. a new air service scheduled to start in October. Volaris Airlines will provide a direct air service between the two cities.

This week the delegation — including officials from the city, as well as from the state of Jalisco and from businesses such as Mundo Cuervo, the distillery that makes Jose Cuervo — toured Portland’s sustainable features and met with local businesses. The group was interested in learning about Portland’s best practices to advance the livable city movement.

 “These relationships are so important,” Mayor Hales said. “Maintaining ties for over three decades makes both cities richer in culture, trade and education.”

Portland in Guadalajara

PF&R celebrates handing off fire trucks to Guadalajara.

Last week, Portland’s presence was felt in Guadalajara: The city accepted a fire engine and a ladder truck from Portland Fire & Rescue, the third such donation since 1999. Guadalajara Director of International Relations Mario Reynoso via Twitter thanked the city for its donation, which arrived Aug. 22, Mexico’s National Firefighters Day.

The mayor and City Council approved the donation in November 2013, but there was nine months of international red tape to work through before the trucks could be delivered to Guadalajara.

Before Portland Fire started training and equipment donation with Guadalajara 15 years ago, the city had four stations serving 1.5 million people; Portland has 30 stations for 600,000 people. Now Guadalajara has 17 stations across the city, allowing firefighters to respond to calls within 5 minutes instead of up to 45 minutes.

“This makes a huge difference for them,” said Portland Fire & Rescue Lt. Joe Troncosso. “The only way to keep those stations is with equipment.

“These trucks started on the front lines here; then they were back-up; then they sat unused in the lot. Now, they’re back on the front lines again, doing what they’re supposed to: save lives.”


Natural Grocers Coming to Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard

Natural Grocers to add Store on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard


THURSDAY, AUG. 28, 2014 – Mayor Charlie Hales and Kemper Isely, co-president of Natural Grocers, announced today that property owned by the Portland Development Commission at Northeast Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Alberta Street will be the site for a new community-centric grocery store that focuses on free nutrition education and healthy food. 

Commissioner Saltzman, Mayor Hales, Andrew Colas

The Oregonian's Andrew Theen reports the mayor's efforts in improving Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.

Three months ago, Mayor Hales and PDC staff urged the project developer, Majestic Realty Co., to remain committed to the project and to find another anchor tenant for the 1.79-acre property, following the decision by Trader Joe’s not to locate a store on the site.

“The challenges this development has faced have been well documented,” Mayor Hales said. “But thanks to the determination of the public and private partners involved, we’re now able to present a development that will benefit the residents of Northeast Portland, support neighboring businesses, introduce Portlanders to a high-quality, affordable grocer and revitalize a parcel of land that has sat dormant for 15 years.”

In March, the mayor committed an additional $20 million in urban renewal funds to affordable housing in North and Northeast Portland to complement commercial development efforts on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. The Portland Housing Bureau, led by Commissioner Dan Saltzman, is conducting a community involvement process to develop a North/Northeast Neighborhood Housing Strategy to help direct that investment.

Natural Grocers is a Colorado-based chain with stores in 14 states. The company currently has seven locations in Oregon, including four in the Portland area, as well as a new store set to open in Eugene on September 23.

“We have felt instantly at home in Oregon and the Portland area and are very excited to partner on this new development and start building a lasting and beneficial relationship with the community on Portland’s Northeast side,” Isely said. “The values Portlanders embrace around fresh, local food; resource conservation; and community involvement are perfectly aligned with the business model we’ve had in place since my parents founded the company nearly 60 years ago.”

Beyond a place to buy healthy food, the new store brings many additional benefits to the Northeast Portland community, including: an on-site credentialed nutritional health coach, provided at no charge, to answer questions, help with meal planning and provide one-on-one nutrition counseling, along with other free nutrition education options like cooking classes and demonstrations, and lectures on topics of interest to the community.  “We work hard to make healthy options affordable so that customers feel empowered in our stores,” Isely added. “We are deeply committed to our neighbors and we look forward to being part of the Portland community for years to come.”

Preliminary design work will start in early September. In addition to Natural Grocers, the development, when complete, will include commercial and retail space to house between four and 10 businesses.

A community benefits agreement and elements of the project design will be developed by a project working group. The group will include representatives from nearby neighborhood, business and community associations and will be formed in the next few weeks. Their work will inform the overall project design and development.

Colas Construction of Portland was selected in January as project general contractor. “I grew up and now reside in North Portland and I am honored to have Colas Construction lead a project that will deliver real jobs, real amenities and real opportunities for neighborhood residents,” said Andrew Colas, president of Colas Construction. “I want to thank Majestic Realty for the commitment to us, to this neighborhood and to this project. I am so excited to break ground.” 

Work on the project is expected to begin in late fall.

Walking Beats on Hawthorne Change Tenor of Community

Relations Between Police, Community Remain Priority for Mayor Hales

WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 3, 2014 – For the past six months, Portland Police Bureau officers have been walking beats, an old-fashioned concept that had grown out of style in past decades. The first such walking beats are part of a pilot program in downtown, the Central Eastside and along Hawthorne Boulevard.Mayor Hales, Sgt. DeLand

Reporter Sami Edge of Willamette Week spent several days in August shadowing the officers along Hawthorne, and talking to business people, customers, service providers and youths who hang out along the commercial strip.

“I was convinced that a return to walking beats would change the way the community interacts with Portland Police,” Mayor Charlie Hales said. “Finding a new dynamic between Portlanders and Portland Police has been my priority since I took office. And we’re seeing it on Hawthorne. The officers are great. The community is happy. This is a success.”

Hales’ initiatives in 2013 and 2014 have included shepherding through reforms spelled out in a Department of Justice settlement agreement; a focus on the Office of Youth Violence Prevention; the Enough is Enough campaign to encourage community activism in fighting violence; the Black Male Achievement initiative; equity projects with the U.S. Conference of Mayors; and a three-day equity training for senior, white, male leaders in the mayor’s office and Portland Police command staff titled, “White Men as Full Diversity Partners.”

Mayor in Nick's Famous Coney IslandTo see if the walking beats are working, Hales toured Hawthorne on Friday, Aug. 29, speaking with customers, shop owners, street youths and officers, including Sgt. Ric DeLand, who’s been with Portland Police for 24 years.

“We’re interacting with them every day,” DeLand said of the street youths on Hawthorne. “We’re involved in their joys, their breakups, their hangovers, their feuds.”

The idea behind walking beats is to create a relationship between officers and members of the community, before a law-enforcement incident occurs. Central Precinct Police Commander Robert Day has been a strong proponent of the beats.

So has DeLand. “Instead of only having contact with the police when they’re being told they’re doing something wrong, they have daily contact with police, petting their dogs, getting to know their story, connecting them with services, understanding what makes them feel unsafe, letting them know we’re aware of any bad behavior,” DeLand said. “It’s analogous to parenting: Don’t ignore someone until they do something wrong and then punish them. But that’s what we do with law enforcement. It doesn’t make sense. You make everything about enforcement you’re just going to get rebellion. Make them part of the solution instead of part of the problem.”

At Ben & Jerry'sHales spoke to several people along Hawthorne, including a street musician who goes by the moniker Rain Bojangles. “Wow. It’s much better here now,” Bojangles said. He plays music on a handmade string instruments and often can be seen near the Powell’s Books on Hawthorne. “We used to have a lot of troublemakers who just made things worse for everywhere. They’re gone now, and that’s nice.”

Bojangles pointed to Sgt. DeLand and added: “He stops and talks to me almost every day. He’s a nice guy. He’s here to help.”

DeLand said the walking beats have allowed his officers to see a new aspect to the houseless community and street youths who frequent the area. “To us, prior to this, they all looked the same,” DeLand said. “Now, instead of painting everybody with a broad brush and trying to stamp out traveling in Portland, we’ve targeted the bad behaviors. That builds credibility with the larger community through word-of-mouth.”

And is there danger, walking a beat rather than being in a patrol car? DeLand laughs. “Of the hundreds and hundreds and hundreds dogs I’ve pet — all these ‘vicious’ pit bulls — the only time I’ve been bit was by a 7-pound Chihuahua named Pizza. I made the mistake of petting Pizza while he was sound asleep.”


Mayor, Council Approve Funding to Support Human Trafficking Survivors

Mayor Hales Dedicates Funds to Helping Human Trafficking Survivors

WEDNESDAY, JULY 30, 2014 — Mayor Charlie Hales and commissioners at Wednesday’s City Council meeting approved a $297,000 grant to support Janus Youth Programs’ shelter beds, treatment and case management services for human trafficking victims between 18 and 25 years old.

“The program saves women’s lives,” Hales said. “And it helps make the community safer by removing gangs’ revenue source.”

With this grant approval, Portland Police have garnered nearly $1 million to support human trafficking survivors through partnerships with service organizations. 

Humans have become the second-most lucrative commodity on the black market behind drugs, the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office reports. Gangs and other criminal organizations prefer humans because they’re a reusable resource; they can be resold.

That horrific dehumanization most frequently affects teenagers, both girls and boys, and is becoming more common in Portland because of the city’s position on Interstate 5 and the airport. Traffickers recruit girls who are 12 to 14 years old, spanning socioeconomic status, education level, and race, according to the district attorney.

Portland Police Sgt. Mike Geiger on Wednesday spoke in support of the funding. His highlighted the tremendous need to support safe places for trauma victims.

Transcript of Sgt. Geiger's remarks at Council

"This has been a long fight, a difficult one. We’ve been engaged in it for a few years now, and I think that much of what we’ve been trying to come to grips with is how does that happen here and what’s going on with our children and our community.

Human trafficking is becoming one of the fastest growing criminal enterprises in the world today. We’ve been trying to figure out how we strike a balance between accountability, between law enforcement, and the needs of the child — the needs of the vulnerable and the violated.

What this funding shows me is confirmation that the city of Portland has chosen to take a stand on behalf of the vulnerable, and on behalf of the violated. And I would say that support for law enforcement and support for the victims are not mutually exclusive. What we have come to learn is the way in which we view an individual dictates the way we respond to that individual. So, by providing advocacy resources and a safe place to stay, we’re telling them that the overriding goal is the restoration, and their removal from the life of exploitation and victimization to one of health and safety and a positive future. Those things can’t be accomplished absent the support services we brought to bear on their behalf.

Young people, whether they are teenagers or people in their twenties or whoever they are, they desire safety, and they desire security, and they need first and foremost to have their emotional and physical needs met before we begin to address the other facts. I think this is what this funding does, what we have seen is a dramatic increase in our ability to prosecute cases both at the state and federal level. It has been remarkable.

What I would submit, we would have never been able to accomplish that absent the support from the people like Janus Youth Programs and the Sexual Assault Resource Center. What that is, that has done, is allowed them to rebuild their emotional state, to gain a sense of security and empowerment, and to recognize finally there is a degree of victimization that they had not faced before, which empowers them to give us the information we need in order to put together a comprehensive case that brings accountability.

We are accomplishing both, and I am very happy about that because it speaks to what we think about these young people. It speaks to the priority that we have here in our community. That we want the best for them and for them to be free of exploitation. To me, that speaks to the character of our department and it speaks to the character of this council, and your support is just very much appreciated.  So, thank you."

Sgt. Geiger's written statement

“For the last several years Portland has taken a leading role in the fight against human trafficking and child exploitation. We have learned this type of exploitation is difficult to identify, and even more difficult to prosecute. Much has been learned, and many relationships have been developed. The city of Portland has dedicated police resources to this fight and has made it a priority at all levels. The city has partnered with local and federal prosecutors and has taken part in many educational and awareness opportunities. Of even more importance, the city of Portland has come to recognize that if there is to be accountability, we must first meet some very basic necessities. Victims of sexual trauma very much need two things: safety and someone to care for them.

Absent a safe place, trauma victims will return to their exploiter and will likely find themselves in an even more dangerous circumstance. While it is likely they will not at first recognize safety is a priority, they will if the doors remain open. Janus Youth Program has a long record of working with vulnerable children, and has become a vital component in ensuring there is a safe place for victims. Janus is dedicated to long-term care, recognizing that there is no short-term solution.

Beyond shelter services, trauma victims need to be able to talk to a caring adult who will not judge or condemn. The Sexual Assault Resource Center provides confidential support services and advocacy. They have in many circumstances become the lifeline to children who have been left to their own devices. The relationships they maintain are what have allowed so many victims to reach a place of healing. That in turn has increased their ability to help children out of a life of exploitation.

Support from the city has allowed the Resource Center to serve more children, and even develop a response to those between the ages of 18 and 25. This is in recognition that many children identified prior to 18 continue to need help. Support from Janus will make certain we have long term shelter for those in the most need.”

Portland Job, Economic Growth Continues

As the Recovery Grows, Portland is Positioned to Benefit

More on jobs, economic opportunity on Dashboard: Portland by the Numbers

3rd annual PDC Startup PDX Challenge focuses on diverse founders

WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 9, 2015 — Today applications open for the Portland Development Commission’s third annual Startup PDX Challenge, an international competition to connect startups to Portland’s growing entrepreneurial ecosystem and assist the businesses for one year through their early stage growth.

"This is a fantastic program that helps remove barriers and create opportunity for entrepreneurs," Mayor Charlie Hales said. "Know a Portland entrepreneur? Encourage them to participate!"

The Challenge first launched in 2013, marking Portland’s national emergence as a top destination to grow a business and join a network of experienced and innovative peers competing in the global economy. This year's Challenge aligns with Mayor Hales' City of Opportunity agenda, and seeks to improve equity and remove barriers for underrepresented entrepreneurs, including women, minorities and veterans. 

Click here to find out more about Startup PDX Challenge.

LucidEnergy shows success in clean tech

WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 2, 2015 — LucidEnergy today announced its system exceeded performance benchmarks and is operating at a 20 percent higher capacity than projected. The company is on track to power hundreds of Portland homes. 

"Congratulations to Lucid Energy for reaching a ‪clean energy‬ milestone!," Mayor Charlie Hales said. "Just since June the company has produced more than 100 MWh of clean energy from the city's drinking water. That is equivalent to 12 TONS of coal! This type of innovation, using regenerative energy, is what keeps Portland a leader in ‪climate action‬."

Click here to read more about their success.

 Support Black Business Month by eating at Portland restaurants


Thanks, Bertha Pearl, for organizing this in Portland! The Skanner News Group talked to her about her efforts to...

Posted by Charlie Hales on Wednesday, August 26, 2015


Forbes ranks Portland in top spot for Best Places for Businesses and Careers; Mayor Hales makes announcement

WEDNESDAY, AUG. 6, 2015 — Portland took a top spot in Forbes’ list of Best Places for Businesses and Careers: "Portland, Ore., ranks third, up 18 spots, thanks to a much improved economic and job outlook. The Portland economy is expected to boom over the next three years with an annual growth rate of 7.3%, second fastest in the U.S., according to Moody’s." This is a high honor. But this opportunity isn’t shared by all Portlanders.

I’ll be working with the Mayor’s Business Roundtable — a diverse group of leaders representing many facets of the business community — on how to make opportunity accessible.

And, I’m also really excited to announce that I will be hiring a policy director to focus on workforce development and economic opportunity. Know anybody who could help advance our goals ofeconomic opportunity and building the employment pipeline for ALL Portlanders? Please, let us know!

Portland Business Journal: 'Mayor to establish wide-ranging city business roundtable'

TUESDAY, JULY 28, 2015 — The Portland Business Journal reports about Mayor Hales' creation of an inclusive business roundtable, to be convened this summer. Read the full story

"This is a matter of economic opportunity," Mayor Hales said. "As issues arise, and as I bring things to Council, I want input from a truly representative sample of Portland businesses -- new and old, large and small, traditional and non-traditional. I want Portland to be a place of inclusive entrepreneurship, a true City of Opportunity."

TigerLogic moves from California to Portland

MONDAY, JUNE 15, 2015 — TigerLogic, an online engagement provider, is moving to Portland from Irvine, Calif., the Portland Business Journal reports. READ the full story.

The company in 2013 purchased the Portland-based social media engagement tool Postano, and will be moving into its offices. TigerLogic has 60 employees, including 30 involved in the Postano brand and 25 at the company's European offices. 

"TigerLogic is a great addition to Portland's tech scene," Mayor Charlie Hales said. "And we're excited that our local talent — the company's CFO and CEO Roger Rowe and President Justin Garrity — perhaps helped draw the company here. It's an example of our Portland values drawing high-level jobs to our city. Welcome, TigerLogic!"

Looptworks, Portland benefit corporation, profiled on NBC News

MONDAY, MAY 25, 2015 — Looptworks, a Portland company that repurposes old Southwest Airlines leather seats into limited-edition goods, was profiled this week on a national NBC Nightly News program. Here's the news clip. 

The company is a benefit corporation, providing a social good as well as a commercial product. Among Mayor Hales' economic opportunity priorities is to provide incentives to encourage companies to do business with Portland values, and reward business that do. 

Bloomberg Business: Portland is leading the west's boom

MONDAY, APRIL 27, 2015 — Bloomberg Business looks at the westward movement of population and economic growth: When Your Kid Moves Out West, She Takes the U.S. Economy With Her. The trend has led to a boom in Portland: "Nine of the 10 large metropolitan areas with the highest rates of gross domestic product growth since 2008 are in the West or Southwest, led by Portland, Oregon, at 22.8 percent." But also negatives, like income inequality. Mayor Hales' priorities include breaking down barriers so all Portlanders can take advantage of the city's boom:

Wall Street Journal highlights trend in company locations

THURSDAY, APRIL 23, 2015 — A Wall Street Journal story highlights a trend that a City Observatory report detailed this year: Large companies are moving back into city centers. Downtown Portland has welcomed two transplants from Hillsboro -- Lattice Semiconductor and Zapproved. The draw of walkable neighborhoods and easy access to amenities is proving a boon for Portland's economy, making Portland a hub for diverse industries. This is an exciting time for Portland!

Read the Wall Street Journal story.

Zapproved moves from Hillsboro to downtown Portland

TUESDAY, APRIL 21, 2015 — Zapproved, a once-small start-up company based in Hillsboro, has moved to downtown Portland. 

The company, founded in 2008, earlier this year announced $20 million in investment. It plans to double its 50 employees. And following that success, they planned a move to Portland.

"This is an innovative company that fits in perfectly with Portland's tech culture," Mayor Charlie Hales said. "And they're following the recent trend of companies moving out of the suburbs and into the city center — a great trend for Portland. Welcome, Zapproved!"

Read Zapproved's blog about the five reasons they chose to move to Portland.

Under Armour Plans Move to Portland

MONDAY, APRIL 20, 2015 — Under Armour is moving into Portland, adding to the city's growing and vibrant athletic and outdoor industry. 

From the Portland Business Journal

"The company on Monday confirmed it plans to grow its footwear and innovation operations in Portland. The confirmation followed Business Journal inquiries last week about the sale of a nearly 70,000-square-foot former YMCA immediately south of downtown.

"'As Under Armour continues its global expansion, Portland has emerged as a strategic hub for the brand, specifically in footwear and innovation,' the company said in a statement. 'We are excited to grow our footprint in the city.'"

Tech Start-Up inDinero Announces Move to Portland

MARCH 30, 2015 — Portland welcomes another tech start-up: inDinero has chosen to move to Portland, looking for 50 new hires and adding to Portland's growing reputation as a tech hub. Read The Oregonian story:

Check out the Economic Opportunity portion of Dashboard: Portland by the Numbers for metrics on paths city's strong economy:

PDC Announces First Latino Start-Up Weekend in Portland

MARCH 24, 2015 — Alpfa Portland and Hispanicpros will host a great opportunity to engage with Latino entrepreneurs.

On Thursday, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., a panel of successful Latino entrepreneurs from Oregon will talk about their journeys and how they've tackled challenges of starting a business. The panel includes Marcelino Alvarez, CEO and founder of the very cool Uncorked Studios, which Mayor Charlie Hales toured last month.

The hosts, Hispanicpros and Alpfa Portland, will also share information about the first Latino Start-up Weekend in Portland, an initiative in collaboration with the Portland Development Commission. PDC, aligning with Mayor Hales' economic opportunity priorities, has focused its efforts on diversifying entrepreneurship in Portland, with its I3PDX effort and Start-Up PDX Challenge. More:

10 Barrel Brewing Comes to Portland, Hires City's First Female Head Brewer

MARCH 23, 2015 — Aptly timed for Women's History Month, Portland is happy to welcome Bend-based 10 Barrel Brewing, which opened its first Portland location in the Pearl (1411 NW Flanders St). Its head brewer? Whitney Burnside -- the company’s AND the city’s first female head brewer. We're excited to taste her brews!

Check out Portland Monthly Magazine's ‪#‎OregonWoman‬ profile about her:

Mayor Joins Current, Future Leaders at Portland Workforce Alliance Breakfast

Mayor greets Nabi AminMARCH 17, 2015 — This morning Mayor Charlie Hales joined current and future leaders at the Portland Workforce Alliance Breakfast to talk about the human resources that Portland has -- its students -- and how employers can help with their education, cultivating them into future workers.

"There was a nice Washington Post article last fall with the headline, 'Why Portland is Growing Its Own Swiss Chard and Stealing Your College Grads,'" Mayor Hales said. "It's great, but we also need to grow own. ... Education is essential for Portland's economy."

To students he said, "Portland's future and your future are not two things. They are one and the same."

He encouraged businesses to get involved with students: "They're listening, and we can all help guide them to a bright future," he said.
Case in point: A Roosevelt High School student who participated in a dialogue about police and race last year attended the breakfast. She said that she was trying to decide whether she should pursue a career as a lawyer or a police detective. After Mayor Hales called on Roosevelt students to get involved with the city in order to change it, she decided to be a police detective.

"It brought tears to my eyes," said staffer Tera Pierce. "It illustrates that showing up, reaching out can really help."

Hopworks Urban Brewery is First Northwest Brewery to Become Benefit Corporation

MARCH 16, 2015 — Kudos to Hopworks Urban Brewery for becoming the first Northwest brewery to become a benefit corporation, a business certified to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency. More from Portland Business Journal:

"Hopworks is an example of a great product -- excellent craft brews and a go-to IPA -- doing great things for its community," Mayor Charlie Hales said. "The company is a steward of the environment, using organic ingredients and serving locally sourced food at its pub, and also contributes a portion of its sales to nonprofits."

At the beginning of the year, Portland had a staggering 117 benefit corporations. The Mayor's Office is working with them to identify the best way to support these companies for being good neighbors.

See Portland ‪benefit corporations' rapid growth on the dashboard:

More on economic opportunity priorities:

The Oregonian: Wacom Joins Tech Stampede to Portland

THURSDAY, MARCH 12, 2015 — The Oregonian reports that Wacom, a Japanese digital graphics company, plans to move its U.S. headquarters from Vancouver to Northwest Portland next year, leasing three floors in a nine-story building in the Pearl District. Read the full story.

The company adds to the burgeoning tech presence in Portland, and plans to double its number of employees once it moves to Portland. Currently the company employs 160 people in Vancouver; it plans to expand to about 300 in three years.

WorkSystems Highlighted by White House Tech Hire Initiative

MARCH 9, 2015 — Exciting news from Worksystems, Inc., a valuable partner in Mayor Charlie Hales' economic opportunity initiatives: President Obama highlighted Worksystems' Code Oregon as one of 20 successful technology training programs that help more Americans train and connect to IT jobs. The president's ‪#‎TechHire‬ initiative is a public-private partnership with over 300 employers aimed at following Worksystems' lead.

Worksystems is answering the president's bold initiative with:

  • Committing to offer 100 on-the-job training opportunities and 50 paid internships to provide work experience and promote hiring of Code Oregon graduates;
  • Partnering with JP Morgan Chase to recruit tech mentors to offer additional support to under-served communities;
  • Cross-walking community college and university curriculum with on-line badges;
  • Providing transferrable college credit to 60 students who complete the accelerated Code Oregon pathway model.

"I'm proud an organization that has been so important in helping all Portlanders access economic opportunity was recognized by the president," Mayor Hales said. "Worksystems' innovation and ambition deserves it."

The full story:

City Observatory Report: City Centers' Growth Outpacing Suburbs

FEBRUARY 24, 2015 — The New York Times covers the City Observatory report by Portland economist Joe Cortright. The report finds that job growth in city centers is outpacing that in the suburbs -- a reverse of the job growth trend in early 2000's. And the national trend is more pronounced in Portland: City center jobs are growing, while jobs in the suburbs are declining.

This centralized growth signals Portland's development into a city with a center for consumption -- civic, entertainment, goods and services -- and growth in entrepreneurship and knowledge-based industries. Mayor Charlie Hales is working to ensure that growth has positive repercussions by encouraging businesses to become benefit corporations, building public-private partnerships to address issues, and giving businesses incentives to uplift people, such as with "ban the box."

* Read the full report:…/02/Surging-City-Center-Jobs.pdf
* Read the New York Times coverage:…/more-new-jobs-are-in-city-centers

Mayor Tours Central Eastside Businesses

FEBRUARY 23, 2014 — Mayor Charlie Hales last week toured Central Eastside businesses, including cool local businesses Spooltown and Uncorked Studios.

"Great local creativity is enlivening the neighborhood," Mayor Hales said.

"Strong local businesses help create the complete neighborhoods we're working to build. Last year Portland was awarded a C40 City Climate Leadership award for sustainable communities for its complete neighborhood efforts. But we're not finished. Among my priorities: Making all Portland neighborhoods livable for all Portlanders."

New Dashboard Tracks Job Growth

MONDAY, FEB. 2, 2015 — Mayor Charlie Hales in his 2015 State of the City address unveiled a new, citywide dashboard that tracks metrics related to his priorities.

Dashboard: Portland by the Numbers tracks metrics within economic opportunity, livable neighborhoods, public safety, and good government.

The job growth metric tracks non-farm employment in the Portland-Hillsboro-Vancouver metro area. The Portland Development Commission’s priorities include growing employment over five years. The chart is divided into the number of private and public sector jobs in the region, and percent job growth over time. See the chart:

Lattice Semiconductor will move its headquarters from Hillsboro to Portland

TUESDAY, JAN. 27, 2015 — The Oregonian reports: "Lattice Semiconductor confirmed Monday that it has sold its Hillsboro headquarters and will move executive and administrative functions to downtown Portland early this year."

"This is great news for downtown Portland, whose bike parking, public transit, condos, food carts and local commerce have lured tech jobs from the suburbs to downtown," Mayor Hales said. "Another success in Portland's placemaking efforts, making our city a world-class example of livability."

Portland benefit corporation Looptworks highlighted by Washington Post

TUESDAY, JAN. 20, 2015 — The Washington Post last week highlighted Looptworks, a  Portland-based company that turns high-quality, unused material into limited edition, hand-numbered goods. Read the full piece.

Looptworks is a benefit corporation, a business that takes extra steps to benefit the community in its operations, such as the way Looptworks teaches adults with disabilities to prepare the materials for manufacturing. "I'm proud to have them in our city, and am working encourage more ‪Portland companies to become ‪benefit corporations," Mayor Hales says.

More on benefit corporations from Dashboard: Portland by the Numbers. 

Smith Optics moves from Idaho to Southeast Portland

THURSDAY, JAN. 22 — The Oregonian reports that Smith Optics, an eyewear company, will move from its longtime home in Ketchum, Idaho, to Southeast Portland. Read the full story. 

The move will occur in April, bringing 45 employees to the former Salvation Army building at 222 S.E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. to establish the company's Pacific Coast Design Center. Smith Optics' parent company is Safilo Group of Italy. 

Oregon employment tops pre-recession highs, posts biggest one-month jump in decades

WEDNESDAY, DEC. 17, 2014 – A report released this week from the Oregon Employment Department offers some great news on the job front:

More Oregonians are employed now than were at the beginning of the recession. And November produced the biggest one-month jump in employment since the state started keeping comparable records in 1990.

"We've been watching this trend for months now. Jobs throughout Oregon are on the rise and Portland is leading the way," Mayor Charlie Hales said.

Multiple sectors saw significant increases of 1,000 or more jobs in November, including retail, business services, hospitality, construction, wholesale trade and government.

"It is rare for so many industries to gain that many jobs in one month," the Employment Department said in a statement released Tuesday morning.

The Oregonian’s Mike Francis wrote this story.

Mayor to Washington Post: 'There are some really deep cultural roots to the character of Portland'

MONDAY, OCT. 20, 2014 -- The Washington Post column "Wonkblog" on Monday focused on Portland's success as a destination city -- one people move to because it's great, then find a job and make a life here. 

Reporter Emily Badger interviewed Mayor Charlie Hales about Portland, and followed up with economist Joe Cortright on the facts of Portland's success: 

  • Portland has contained urban sprawl with urban growth boundaries.
  • Unemployment rate for 25-to-34-year-olds with a college degree in metro Portland is 4.8 percent -- lower than it is in Chicago, Los Angeles, Atlanta or New York City.
  • Its long-held values -- sharing economy, local food sources, entrepreneurship -- are now trendy.

Hales, whose interview with Badger prompted the piece, praised it as a fun, insightful look at Portland.

Read the full column.

Mayor Marks National Manufacturing Day at Benson High

FRIDAY, OCT. 3, 2014 -- Today is National Manufacturing Day‬, when “more than 1,600 American manufacturers will open their doors and take up the important work of inspiring our young people to pursue careers in manufacturing and engineering,” reads President Barack Obama’s proclamation.

Mayor Hales speaks to students"National Manufacturing Day carries a special meaning in Portland, a city of makers," Mayor Charlie Hales said. "We brew beer. We make outdoor and athletic gear. We build everything from airplane parts to really tall bikes."

Standing before a group of about 50 students at Benson Polytechnic High School, Hales talked about his grandfather, who spent his career as an engraver at the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing, hand-engraving plates to print money. He couldn’t smoke or drink because he had to have the steadiest of hands. When he retired, his trick was tracing the outline of a dime and writing the entire Lord’s Prayer inside of it.

“I come from a family of makers,” Hales told the high school students. “That’s part of why I love Portland.”

The students today will visit several manufacturing companies to learn what they make and how they make it. In his proclamation, President Obama said such tours are an important part of a future of American manufacturing: “Today’s science, technology, engineering, and math graduates will power the next chapter of American production and innovation, and harnessing their potential is an economic imperative. When our manufacturing base is strong, our entire economy is strong. Today, we continue our work to bolster the industry at the heart of our Nation. With grit and resolve, we can create new jobs and widen the circle of opportunity for more Americans.”

Alaska Airlines Magazine Profiles Portland as City of Makers

Alaska Airlines MagazineTHURSDAY, OCT. 2, 2014-- Alaska Airlines Magazine dedicated part of its October edition to delving into Portland's maker economy.

The magazine talked to 16 pages-worth of businesses and Portlanders, including First Lady Nancy Hales, painting a picture of a city that supports innovation and ideas. The profile starts on page 142 of this online magazine (click here).

"This is a stellar feature," Mayor Charlie Hales said. "It's a nice reminder of how fantastic our city really is."

PDC Names Winners of 2014 Startup PDX Challenge

THURSDAY, SEPT. 4, 2014 -- Six startup businesses have made the cut to win the second annual Startup PDX Challenge. This year’s Challenge focused on finding entrepreneurs with diverse founding teams and the ambition to scale to a national or international market. Each company will receive a package valued at $50,000, with a $15,000 working capital grant, a full year of rent-free office space at 115 SW Ash in Portland’s Old Town/Chinatown, and free professional advice, memberships and services.

In addition to the six winners, five companies have been named merit finalists and will each receive a package valued at $4,000.

The Challenge drew a field of 134 applicants, narrowed first to 19 semi-finalists and then to the six winners and five merit finalists by a selection committee which interviewed the representatives of each semi-finalist company. The winners represent both industry and demographic diversity. The full group encompasses developers of new consumer products, technology and services, and includes eight startups with women founders; five with African American founders; three with Asian founders; two with Native American founders; and one with Latino founders.

Patrick Quinton, PDC Executive Director, said, “We were thrilled with the response to this year’s call for diverse founding teams that will help us develop a more inclusive innovation community. We look forward to welcoming the winning entrepreneurs to our expanding network of experienced, innovative companies competing in the global economy.”

The six winners, all from the Portland metropolitan area, are Yellow Scope, a creator of rigorous science kits just for girls; RAFT Syrups, which brews organic botanical and cane sugar syrup for cocktails and home soda making; Society Nine, a fight gear and activewear apparel brand for women;, a technology solution to rental market problems for landlords and tenants; Design + Culture Lab, a research-based urban social lab addressing issues of cultural, racial and ethnic inequality; and Tique Box, a subscription service for specialty items from local artisans.

Merit finalists are Genki Su; VDO Interpreters; and Carehubs, from the Portland area; and ICOM of Atlanta, GA, which was also the winner of the public vote.

The Challenge winners will move into the Old Town/Chinatown space in early October; a meet and greet event on Thursday, September 25 will welcome them to the neighborhood.

Tech Firms in Race to Get to Portland

WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 3, 2014 -- According to the Portland Business journal’s Malia Spencer and Alli Pyrah, Portland’s popularity as a tech hub is squeezing an already tight office market.

See their story online at

The journalists talked to incoming Portland business leaders, including representatives of SurveyMonkey, Squarepsace and Airbnb. Gino Zahnd, CEO of Cozy, commented on moving his employees to the Rose City, saying, “We give everyone the choice of San Francisco or Portland, and 100 percent choose Portland.”

Chris Harder of the Portland Development Commission also is quoted saying that the PDC – the city’s development arm – is holding conversations every month with tech companies coming from the Silicon Valley, San Francisco, Seattle, New York or Boston. “Right now, it’s just a flood,” Harder said.

Company That Makes iPad Sales System to Expand in Portland

WEDNESDAY, AUG. 27, 2014 – New York City-based ShopKeep, which makes an iPad-based point-of-sale system for small merchants, is the latest tech company to set up shop in Portland. The Portland Business Journal’s Malia Spencer says the company is moving into a downtown office at 421 S.W. Sixth Ave.

While the current staff includes an estimated 15 is working out of temporary offices in the Liberty Centre in the Lloyd District, the new permanent space can accommodate up to 100 people, said co-CEO Norm Merritt.

‘Jobs’ Are Focus of PDC Projects

WEDNESDAY, AUG. 27, 2014 – The focus is on jobs this week, as the Portland City Council hears a report on programs designed to lure, keep and expand employment within the city.

The council discussed funds of than $5.42 million in the budget of the Portland Development Commission – the city’s economic development arm. The money goes toward programs pegged to job creation and job retention.

Mayor, Bill Wyatt of Port of Portland, Martin Daum of Daimler“Nationally and internationally, the economic recovery has arrived. But not everyone in Portland is feeling it yet,” Mayor Charlie Hales said. “We talk a lot about ‘placemaking’ and, for many Portlanders, that means access to jobs. These proposals are designed to focus directly on Portlanders and jobs.”

Hales oversees the PDC as one of his bureaus within city government.

Among those testifying Wednesday was Michael DeMarco, program manager for Our 42nd Avenue Neighborhood Prosperity Initaitive organization. DeMarco said the organization's goals include local hiring and internships.

The City Council voted 4-0 to support the programs. Which include:

Neighborhood Economic Development: $3.38 million

This program includes:

A cluster of Neighborhood Commercial Corridors would receive a total of $863,000. This consists of five programs:

Main Street Network is a community-led revitalization program designed to stimulate neighborhood businesses. In June 2010, Portland designated Alberta, Hillsdale and St. Johns as its first three Main Street districts. The districts receive grants for district administration, property and sustainability improvements, and promotional events.

Neighborhood Prosperity Initiative focuses on six economically challenged business areas in East and outer Northeast Portland. In addition to ongoing technical assistance and training, the districts will be eligible for a district administration and operations grant, marketing, promotions and branding grants, and a property improvement grant.

For Venture Portland, an estimated $303,000 will go to support training, technical assistance, and small grants to Portland's neighborhood business district associations.

The proposal also calls for an estimated $994,000 in Small Business Support, which includes technical assistance for citywide small businesses, allowing the city to support delivery of services by qualified non-profit providers. The funds will be focused on stabilizing and growing small businesses with modest incomes; businesses located in economically challenged areas; and businesses whose owners may need services provided in languages other than English.

Finally, the proposal calls for more than $1.22 million for Neighborhood Economic Development, which is designed to assist low-income Portlanders through workforce development. All participants must have incomes of 50 percent or lower of the Portland-area median family income, and many recipients face barriers such as limited English, criminal histories, lack of housing, drug and alcohol addiction, and lack of education credentials.

Traded-Sector Job Creation and Retention: $2.04 million

This includes Cluster Developments worth an estimated $1.44 million to raise the city’s national and international profile in four target industries: clean technology; athletic and outdoor; advance manufacturing; and software. The goal is to help companies within those sectors retain and expand workforce, as well as strategic recruitment of firms into Portland and the region.

The proposal includes $444,000 for Entrepreneurship Support, a key program within the city to create high-paying jobs, support high-growth firms, commercialize local technologies and encourage broad economic development. This includes access to early stage capital, mentoring and produce development for local entrepreneurs and startups. The program also supports initiatives designed to align resources for women and minority entrepreneurs.

Update: Vigor Industrial's Dry Dock Arrives in Portland

Vigor Dry DockTUESDAY, AUG. 26 2014 – a massive, floating dry dock dubbed The Vigorous arrives in Portland aboard the Dutch MV Blue Marlin, often referred to as the world’s largest heavy-lift marine vessel. The dry dock will allow Vigor Industrial, on Swan Island, to repair much larger marine craft. The Oregonian’s Mark Graves, Mike Francis and Mike Zacchino offer this photo essay.

 “Portlanders sometimes forget that there is a strong industrial sector in our economy,” Mayor Charlie Hales said. “This very-visible expansion, right here on Swan Island, is a good reminder that skills like welding and machining play key roles in the lives of working Portlanders.”

Vigor Industrial Adds Massive Dry Dock; Addition Will Create Jobs

FRIDAY, AUG. 22, 2014 – A massive floating dry dock will arrive at the Columbia River this weekend, carrying components that will be assembled and put to work on Swan Island this fall by Vigor Industrial. The company says it will be the largest such dry dock in the country.Mayor Hales studies information on dry dock

Oregonian reporter Mike Francis offers this article on the new facility, which will draw very large ships into the Willamette River for repair. The ships will be visible from much of Portland and from many of the city’s bridges.

Foti said the dry dock’s arrival means 130 people will work for several months on the two vessels in the queue at Swan Island, and those people "would not have worked" at Vigor if not for the dry dock, according to The Oregonian.

 Frank Foti, Vigor president and chief executive officer, met with Mayor Charlie Hales and staff from the Mayor's Office and Portland Development Commission, earlier this summer, to outline the company’s plans to expand and to draw even larger ships to Swan Island for repairs.

“Portlanders sometimes forget that there is a strong industrial sector in our economy,” Hales said. “This very-visible expansion, right here on Swan Island, is a good reminder that skills like welding and machining play key roles in the lives of working Portlanders.”

The $40 million dry dock is called The Vigorous and was constructed in China.

Startup PDX Challenge semi-finalists named; public vote begins

The Portland Development Commission has narrowed a field of 134 Startup PDX Challenge applicants from the United States and Canada to 19 semi-finalists in Portland’s search for startups with diverse founding teams and the ambition to scale to a national or international market.

Up to six for-profit startup businesses will receive a package valued at $50,000 per company with a $15,000 working capital grant, a full year of rent-free office space at 115 SW Ash in Portland’s Old Town/Chinatown, and free professional advice, memberships and services. Up to four more startups will be named merit finalists and will receive a package valued at $4,000 per company.

Daimler Breaks Ground on Portland Headquarters Building

FRIDAY, JULY 18, 2014 – Mayor Charlie Hales and Gov. John Kitzhaber were on hand Friday for the ceremonial groundbreaking of the $150 million Daimler Trucks North America headquarters on Swan Island.Mayor Hales at Daimler groundbreaking

Martin Daum, president and CEO of Daimler Trucks North America, spoke about the choice of Portland for the expanded facility.

In 2012, Daimler and Western Star Trucks purchased $135 million from Oregon vendors and suppliers. Daimler also supports area high schools, the Oregon Food Bank, the United Way and the Washington Park Summer Concert Series.

A 265,000 square-foot building will bring together Daimler operations now scattered across several offices and will allow for growth. Daimler plans to add another 400 employees to its Portland work force.

The project also includes opening a greenway trail along the Willamette River and construction of a parking garage. The company has partnered with Ankrom Moisan for the architectural design and Hoffman Corporation for construction.

Link to Gov. Kitzhaber’s comments at ground breaking.

Mayor Hales Supports Shriver Report’s ‘City-Festo’ for Women’s, Other Groups’ Empowerment

FRIDAY, JULY 18, 2014 — At Happy Cup Coffee Company in City Hall one afternoon, barista Caitlin Lawson coached Keyona, 28, through the register, checking out an iced coffee order.

Keyona at Happy Cup

Happy Cup — with its coffee roasting operation and two café locations — is a program through Full Life, an organization that employs developmentally disabled adults like Keyona who want to work for minimum wage or better with benefits, job counseling, and other services. Full Life was founded 12 years ago by a woman who championed opportunities for disabled adults.

“It’s fun,” says Keyona, who has worked with Full Life for seven years. “I get to work with different people. It gives me a different outlook and perspective on life.”

The city has supported Happy Cup’s mission, helping it into the City Hall location and into a Northeast Portland space near the Portland Police Bureau’s North Precinct.

Such support is why Maria Shriver, founder of Shriver Report, praised Mayor Charlie Hales at the U.S. Conference of Mayors in June for Portland’s progressive and innovative efforts to create an equitable city. Shriver Report is a nonprofit online platform through which women and others may share stories of progress in overcoming inequity. At the U.S. Conference of Mayors, Shriver’s organization distributed a “city-festo,” a guide to implementing policies that support families and work to empower both women and men to be successful in their cities.

In addition to existing policies and advocacy at the city, state and federal level, Hales is supporting Shriver Report’s call for city leaders to be “architects of change,” encouraging policies that support women and families through education, involvement and outreach.

“Happy Cup embodies Portland’s progressive values,” says Hales, who visits the City Hall café for coffee and salads. “We’re a city that cares for its people, and we put our progressive values into practice.”

The mayor has thrown his support behind the “city-festo” as another step in overcoming historical inequities to make the city more livable for everyone.

“Portland is a deliberately family-friendly city,” Hales says. “We’re continuing to work to make sure every resident lives in a complete neighborhood, with parks full of amenities, streets and sidewalks in good repair, and equal opportunities for successful futures.”

The “city-festo” calls for an informed community, 100 percent voter registration, and education, encouraging city officials to teach equity through leadership, policies and practices.

Hales, through diversity workshops such as White Men as Full Diversity Partners and outreach initiatives such as Black Male Achievement, has led Portland through many of the report’s 10 steps to build change.

Likewise, the city has made progress through Commissioner Amanda Fritz’s citywide paid sick leave policy; sick leave was the No. 1 policy that women who were surveyed said they needed from their city. Shriver told Hales that Portland’s policy is an exemplar for cities nationwide.

Through Black Male Achievement, Hales led community leaders in collaboratively developing programs to support young, African-American men, who disproportionately experience high incarceration, dropout and unemployment rates. SummerWorks, whose second-largest funder is the city, finds summer internships for at-risk teenagers, helping them stay on the right track. City Hall this year hired 100 interns.

Hales, through the U.S. Conference of Mayors, has advocated for comprehensive immigration reform at the federal level. At the state level, the city has advocated for statewide sick leave, affordable housing non-discrimination legislation, tuition equity, and for funding pilot programs to build of Portland Community College’s successful Future Connect scholarship program, which seeks to eliminate financial barriers to college. Last year the City Council passed two affordable housing policies that were key to preserving affordable housing units in Portland. One continued a tax abatement program to create an incentive for developers to build affordable housing, and another clarified that affordable housing on city property is tax-exempt.

Caitlin Lawson and Keyona at Happy CupAnd the city supports businesses like Happy Cup.

“Happy Cup establishes challenges that not every service job gives you,” says Lawson, the barista. “The relationships we build with Full Life clients make the job so much more fulfilling.”

ShriverReport’s “city-festo” gives the city more equity goals to pursue — 100 percent voter registration, addressing inequities across the city, empowering oftentimes marginalized populations.

“The ‘city-festo’ is a great list of goals that Portland is capable of achieving,” Hales says. “We’ve made tremendous progress over the last year-and-a-half. Now it’s time to focus our energies on making this city truly equitable for all genders, all races, all sexual orientations — all citizens.”

Mayor Hales, Sen. Wyden, Commissioner Smith Kick Off SummerWorks' Sixth Year

TUESDAY, JULY 1, 2014 — City, county and federal partners today at the Portland Building kicked off the SummerWorks program’s sixth year placing young people in summer jobs.

Mayor Charlie Hales, Sen. Ron Wyden, and Multnomah County Commissioner Loretta Smith praised the program for helping teens and young adults gain the work experience that is critical to their long-term success.

SummerWorks, a program through Worksystems Inc., since 2009 has placed 2,617 young people, ages 16 to 21, in summer jobs. The program emphasizes under-represented youth who face challenges such as growing up in poverty or at risk of dropping out of high school. 

“We’ve been able to grow this program at Multnomah County since 2011 from 25 young men and women to 125 this year,” says Smith, who will accept an award July 13 on the program’s behalf at the National Association of Counties’ annual convention. “This program works because it connects young people with quality jobs at good pay and provides the skills they need to make their lives better now and in the future.”

The program formed in response to a persistent youth unemployment problem in Oregon; 36,000 young people are both out of school and out or work in the Portland metro area. Last year only about 25 percent of people 16 to 19 years old had a job. For young African-American men, that figure was only 12 percent.

Hales has prioritized working with public and private partners to build a more robust internship system to connect Portland students to the local workforce, and is particularly focused on ameliorating disparities in education, work and family outcomes for African-American men.

“There are several ways we as a community have failed the African American youth — education, employment, incarceration rates,” Hales says. “These internships help level the playing field in a key performance measure, employment. This program provides a leg up. It’s a small step, but a good one.”

Nearly 60 percent of SummerWorks’ funding comes from the city of Portland, Multnomah County, and Worksystems Inc., which is funded in part by the U.S. Department of Labor. Last year, Worksystems contributed $222,169 to the program; the city of Portland $188,071; and Multnomah County $173,475.

“The SummerWorks program is an indispensable tool in training the next generation of productive workers, in breaking the cycle of poverty, and in teaching young people the value of work and the self-esteem that comes with it,” Sen. Wyden says. “This program is the gold standard for demonstrating to the rest of the country that local governments and the federal government can come together with local nonprofits and private enterprise to find good jobs for young people who want to work and want to contribute to their community.”

Family behind Orox Leather artisan goods used PDC assistance to open 1st store, workshop in Old Town

WEDNESDAY, OCT. 2, 2013 — After many years making sandals out of a garage and selling at Saturday Market, Orox Leather Co. moved into Old Town in December 2012, and celebrated its first bricks-and-mortar store with a grand opening party on August 1, 2013.

Mayor Welcomes Microsoft Downtown

Microsoft openingTHURSDAY, JUNE 20, 2013 – Mayor Charlie Hales was on hand to welcome the new 3,200-square-foot Microsoft store, which opened at 300 S.W. Yamhill St., at Pioneer Place in downtown Portland.

Microsoft capped the morning by giving out $1.25 million in software grants to Impact Northwest, Central City Concern and the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry.

The first 200 customers in line also netted tickets to the Microsoft-sponsored Weezer concert Friday evening at Pioneer Courthouse Square and passes for a meet-and-greet with the band.