Portland Business Alliance Endorses Homeless Services Funding Measure
Representing the largest, most diverse business network in the region, greater Portland’s Chamber of Commerce urges voters to approve supportive services to address chronic homelessnessPORTLAND, Ore. – Last week, the Portland Business Alliance—greater Portland’s Chamber of Commerce, representing nearly 1,900 businesses and organizations across the metro region—formally and overwhelmingly endorsed the HereTogether homeless services funding measure on the May ballot.
“I want to thank the many business leaders who have affirmed today that they are willing to step up,” said Katrina Holland, HereTogether Advisory Committee chair and Executive Director of JOIN. “It’s great to see the business community take on a positive role in the business of our community. We’ve got to do this together.”
The Portland Business Alliance (the Alliance) has been part of the HereTogether coalition from its beginning, working closely with partners like health care and service providers, leaders from communities of color and local government, and people with lived experience of homelessness.
“As a member of the business community who helped develop this measure, I can confidently say it will fund solutions that are already working, and will hold local governments throughout the region accountable for making concrete progress in reducing chronic homelessness,” says Peter Andrews, Melvin Mark Companies Executive Vice President of Brokerage and Portland Business Alliance board member.
“Our region has seen record economic growth over the past few decades. While this has been a boon for our business community—including immigrant family-run small businesses, like Fubonn—not everyone has benefitted,” says Michael Liu with Fubonn Shopping Center and Portland Business Alliance board member. “Along with this economic boom, there is ironically also an affordability crisis that is affecting far too many families, in every community in our region. It’s time to come together to help those who are hurting.”
“Businesses across our region are united in addressing our homelessness crisis,” says Jeff Deitrick with Swire Coca-Cola, based in Wilsonville, Clackamas County. “By working together across our community, we all will see the benefit of this unprecedented focus on services that work to address chronic homelessness.”
“Like so many in the local business community, the Portland Thorns and Timbers deeply understand that those two words — business, and community — are intertwined,” says Mike Golub, Thorns and Timbers President of Business and chair-elect of Portland Business Alliance board of directors. “Supporting the HereTogether measure is a critical step toward making a major difference in the lives of tens of thousands of our neighbors who’ve been deeply impacted by the growing homelessness crisis our region is facing.”
If approved by voters May 19, this measure would create a regional 1% marginal tax rate on taxable income over $200,000 a year (joint/household) or $125,000 a year (single), and a 1% business net profits tax for regional businesses with sales over $5 million. Combined, the funding mechanism options are estimated to generate $250,000,000 a year for homeless services. Accountability measures include community oversight, independent audits, a 5% cap on overhead, and a sunset after 10 years.
Funding for this measure will be distributed across the region in alignment with the priorities outlined in HereTogether’s regional policy framework, which was developed over the past two years by a broad and diverse coalition that included business representatives. The framework prioritizes equity and leads with race.