Regional business leaders propose COVID-19 responses

Coronavirus

A layer of fog over downtown Portland on November 5, 2019. (KOIN)

Thirty-two business organizations in the region have sent a letter to elected and policy leaders with recommendations for better coping with the economic downturn being caused by the responses to the COVID-19 crisis.

Although the organizations said they understand the seriousness of the situation, they also said that some of the steps being taken to fight the spread of the novel coronavirus are forcing business to close and throwing their employees out of work.

Continuing Coverage: the Coronavirus

“While public health officials are working to address the crisis, we encourage you to hear the voice of businesses in your region and our recommendations for solutions that will help mitigate the impacts on our economy. Your actions now will help avert an economic catastrophe in the near and long term as we move towards recovery and long-term resiliency,” said the letter from the organizations throughout the greater Portland-Vancouver region.

The first recommendation is, “Do no harm.” As the letter explained, “We ask that when formulating actions that impact our economy that you do not unintentionally harm the future of jobs. Well thought policies and solutions must consider the impact to the business community and include these voices at the table.”

Other recommendations include:

• Coordinate clear, consistent shelter-in-place policies with input from the business community.

• Increase staffing at unemployment offices to better process applications.

• Allow Portland business to choose to participate in the city’s new Clean Energy Fund tax because it is not based on profits.

• Delay the renewal of the Portland Gas Tax because government policies are increasing the need for delivery services.

• No new property tax ballot measures.

• Replace the moritoriums against residential evictions with tax abatements for landlords who are willing to agree.

• Encourage development by reopening the Portland permitting center and speeding the transition to digital permitting.

• Speed up the consruction of tax-supported affordable housing.

“Your action today is crucial to helping our economy recover as one region, together. Thank you for your leadership and prompt attention to these concerns,” the letter ends.

The letter is signed by Beaverton Area Chamber of Commerce, Black American Chamber, Building Owners & Managers Association, Central Eastside Industrial Council, Centro Cultural, Chehalem Valley Chamber of Commerce, Clackamas County Business Alliance, Columbia Corridor Association, Columbia River Economic Development Council, Downtown Portland Clean & Safe, East Metro Economic Alliance, Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce, Hillsboro Chamber of Commerce, Hispanic Metropolitan Chamber, Home Builders Association of Metropolitan Portland, Identity Clark County, Latino Built, Lloyd Enhanced Services District, Multifamily NW, NAIOP Oregon (Commercial Real Estate Development Association), Oregon Beverage Recycling Cooperative, Oregon Economic Development Association, Oregon Trucking Associations, Inc., Pacific Northwest International Trade Association, Pearl District Business Association, Portland Business Alliance, Portland Metropolitan Association of Realtors, Technology Association of Oregon, Travel Portland, Tualatin Chamber of Commerce, Venture Portland, Westside Economic Alliance, Workforce Southwest Washington, and Working Waterfront Coalition.

The Portland Tribune and Pamplin Media Group’s papers are a KOIN 6 News media partner

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