Downtown Portland Continues to Add Businesses, Jobs

From Portland Business Alliance,

Portland, Ore. – Downtown Portland continues to add businesses and jobs according to the seventh annual Downtown Business Census and Survey conducted by the Portland Business Alliance on behalf of Portland Downtown Services, Inc. (PDSI). Thirty-six more businesses opened their doors in 2007 for a total of 4,198 businesses and 1,434 more employees are now working downtown, according to survey results.

“A combination of factors are working together to keep downtown the vital, economic hub that it is,” said Sandra McDonough, President and CEO of the Alliance. “We have forward-thinking businesses making significant investments in our central city, a multi-modal transportation system, building improvements and an ongoing commitment by property owners to make sure downtown is clean and safe.”

Similar to last year, the census found that 59 percent of downtown businesses felt that their business improved. Additionally, 34 percent of downtown businesses plan to expand in the next two years, up from 31 percent last year.

The survey also found that more downtown workers feel that downtown was very safe. Overall, 97 percent feel that downtown is safe with 23 percent feeling that downtown is ‘very safe,’ up 5 percent from last year. Additionally, the impact of panhandling declined four percentage points in 2007 and slipped from the number one issue to number two in the list of factors that need improvement; construction now takes the top spot.

“We are seeing positive results from the Street Access for Everyone ordinance and additional services that are now being provided,” McDonough said. “While construction is now the number one issue, we foresee it having less of an impact in the coming months as construction on the new transit mall wraps up this summer.” In terms of how employees are getting to work downtown, the census showed a slight decrease, from 44 percent to 42 percent, in the amount of people driving alone to work. Those people riding the MAX or bus held steady at 42 percent, with 6 percent choosing to go by bicycle. The number of bicycle commuters has doubled to 6 percent since 2001.

In terms of the types of jobs added to downtown in the past year, growth was seen in a variety of sectors including Professional Scientific and Technical Services category, which includes attorneys, consultants and high tech professionals. Additionally, Healthcare and Social Assistance saw a spike along with Real Estate, Renting & Leasing category.

The census is conducted by the Alliance research department using mailed questionnaires, with personal follow-up and block-by-block canvassing to obtain a 100 percent response rate. It is funded by downtown property owners through PDSI. The census and survey provides a sophisticated information resource for prospective downtown tenants and developers, establishes benchmarks and provides year-toyear tracking of leading economic indicators and progress toward downtown development goals. It also provides a better understanding of the needs of existing downtown businesses.

Downtown Redevelopment Report also available

Alliance researchers and Heritage Consulting Group recently released the annual Central City Development and Redevelopment Projects report. The report provides a comprehensive look at real estate development in the Central City including the area just west of the I-405 Loop, South Waterfront, Lloyd District and the Central Eastside. It includes projects under construction, projects in design, projects in concept and finally projects completed since 2002.

The census and the redevelopment report are funded through the downtown Business Improvement District, which was created in 1988 by downtown businesses to provide enhanced urban services to keep the Central City an attractive place to live, work, shop and play.

Both reports are available on the Portland Business Alliance web site at


The Portland Business Alliance is Greater Portland’s Chamber of Commerce and represents more than 1,300 businesses in the greater Portland region.

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