A BBPDX mid-year check-in
Our annual Summer Social has become our favorite day of the season: an opportunity to mix and mingle with inspiring business and community leaders and talk about what’s next for Portland in a relaxed and festive setting.
The event is an approximate marker for the midpoint of the year. The chance to reflect on what we’ve achieved so far and plan for the impact we are yet to have before 2020. At BBPDX, our work orbits around four pillars of focus. Here’s a snapshot of what we’ve been up to in each area during the first half of 2019.
Business thrives when transportation is safe, equitable, and efficient.
During Portland’s Design Week in April, BBPDX gathered more than 200 business leaders to learn, debate, and even dream at our Transportation as Liberation event held at Vestas HQ. The event galvanized a workgroup of 30 members who spent time digging deeper into emerging policies such as congestion pricing and comprehensive transit investment spearheaded by Metro. BBPDX has two members Stephen Gomez and Leslie Carlson of Brink Communications serving on Metro’s T2020 transportation investment task force. We believe that public transit investment will lead to business success through less congestion, better freight mobility, and progress on climate, equity, and safety goals. Our city and our businesses can’t thrive in gridlock.
Business thrives when people from all backgrounds have economic opportunity.
In June, BBPDX teamed up with the Portland Incubator Experiment (PIE) to mobilize 87 businesses to reach out to the Oregon Legislature in support of funding for the Oregon Growth Fund. This fund provides early stage support for traditionally underrepresented entrepreneurs and we were thrilled to rally such widespread support in less than 24 hours. The exercise highlighted for us the need for better understanding among legislators about the critical role that entrepreneurship plays in growing the economy. As a result, we’re planning a special presentation to the legislature in September and will convene a workgroup in August to prepare the messages we want to deliver to lawmakers.
This spring, BBPDX stepped up to support revenue reform, education funding, and HB 3427, sending both sign-on letters and individual members to Salem to voice their concerns about the deterioration of education across the state and making the business case for the comprehensive revenue reform that will address it.
And in May BBPDX was proud to join with other multicultural chambers to advocate for Prosper Portland’s budget for programs designed to support access to economic prosperity for all Portlanders.
This is what we do best: mobilizing the business leaders in our network to take action when it matters. But we also want to bring to light for our members the complex and messy process of lawmaking and civic engagement. The path toward opening up economic opportunity for all isn’t straight or easy, it’s a process that involves a constant drumbeat of advocacy and multicultural cooperation.
Business thrives when everyone has housing options.
In January, BBPDX invited members to sign on to work evening shifts at a shelter for families experiencing homelessness. Members, including Blackbird Benefit’s Kristin Cooper (don’t miss her account of what she learned from an evening of serving chicken stew), stepped up. The experience led to another opportunity for BBPDX members to get vocal about solutions for affordable housing, this time by signing a letter to advocate for rental assistance funding. During the first half of 2019, BBPDX has been a vocal proponent of policies aimed at addressing the upstream drivers of homelessness, from support for services for those in need in the form the Portland Street Response to backing residential infill measures like HB 2001.
A BBPDX housing workgroup convened this spring to study the “missing middle” of housing that we see not just in Portland, but across the state. In a letter to lawmakers, BBPDX members emphasized: “Our employees, our neighbors, and our family members need to have choices to rent or buy homes at a variety of sizes, configurations, and price points.”
On Oct. 3, BBPDX will host an event focused on residential infill and “Better Housing By Design” and will be engaged with local policy makers on the best path toward more housing options for our community.
Business thrives when we help each other succeed.
There is a particular power accessed when values-aligned businesses get together. We see it in action at every BBPDX event and this year we set out to make sure every one of our member companies take full advantage of our amazing and growing network. Through a series of business-to-business events, BBPDX is working to expand individual and collective success. B2B events in February and May featured networking exercises designed to get members passed the stage of cocktail chit-chat and into deeper and more powerful connections. Look for a third event in this B2B series coming up on September 24.