PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — In an effort to boost downtown businesses, thousands of dollars will be distributed for downtown workers to spend directly.

According to the Portland Business Alliance, it has partnered with the city of Portland, Worksystems and Kuto — a local Black, Indigenous, People of color start-up — to issue 500 $50 Kutu app stimulus credits to downtown workers that can be spent at participating small businesses in the downtown area.

So far, there have been seven events for workers to drop by and receive the stimulus credit, which can be used immediately at any of the 100 participating downtown restaurants and retailers.

PBA said the funds are part of the “Downtown Workers Are Here for Portland” initiative, which aims to support the revitalization of downtown businesses and encourage employees to spend their money intentionally as they return to their offices.

“This is a win-win incentive for Portland’s workforce as they return to their offices downtown and an exciting campaign to support the recovery of small businesses,” Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler said. “These dollars and customer relationships will make a meaningful difference to shops and restaurants that have been hardest hit during the pandemic. I want to extend a warm welcome back to downtown workers. Your presence is critical to the revitalization of our city.”

Andrew Hoan, the president and CEO of the Portland Business Alliance, said it is imperative to work together to help Portland come back strong after the community begins to emerge from more than two years of COVID-19 restrictions.

“This investment of resources is an investment in our local small businesses, and we have the opportunity as individuals to help make a positive impact on the retailers and restaurants that have endured the prolonged disastrous effects presented by the pandemic,” Hoan said. “Please join us in demonstrating that ‘Downtown Workers are Here for Portland.’”

The next distribution of $50 gift cards will take place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Wednesday, May 25 at the Goat Blocks, located at 975 11th Ave., in Portland.

According to the announcement, gift cards will also be given to the locations of downtown employers with 100 or more downtown employees. Employers interested in having PBA go to business during the month of May should email smallbizstories@worksystems.org.