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It the time to year to reflect on our accomplishments and look ahead to what's to come for this beautiful region.

PMG FILE - Vanessa SturgeonAs we near the end of 2019, it's important to reflect on our accomplishments and look ahead to what's to come for this beautiful region.

I want to start by thanking all of our hard-working partners who have helped make a difference in the greater Portland region.

Not only did our Central City hit another record-high with 102,630 dedicated employees, but our partners also made investments that led to historic action to keep Portland clean and thriving.

While this progress is important, it's also important we remember the day-to-day work that hundreds of nonprofit organizations across our region do to help those in need. These are the efforts that matter most during our coldest and busiest time of the year. A time where giving back and celebrating our community is more important than ever.

From supporting small businesses and local artists, we encourage you also to consider donating your time and and resources in one of the countless ways to make a difference in supporting our community.

Support those without a home

There are several incredible organizations dedicated to helping our most vulnerable neighbors who are experiencing homelessness. There are many organizations

deserving of your support, ranging from Transition Projects, which provides individuals with the services, resources and tools they need to secure housing and maintain that housing, to Portland Rescue Mission

or Central City Concern, organizations

committed to providing essential services and training to help those in need get back on their feet. Please consider donating

your time, or clothing or other items to help those without a home to stay warm during the cold months ahead. To learn more about how and where to make donations this season, visit the City of Portland resources page at: https://www.portlandoregon.gov/fish/article/375712.

Give back to the next generation

Every person deserves a holiday season filled with joy, but not everyone has the resources to make that happen. We encourage you to get involved in donation drives like the KGW Great Toy Drive, which provides donated toys to more than 130 organizations throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington. Drop an unwrapped toy for children ages 0-17 at any participating iQ Credit Union or the Regence office at First and Market by Dec. 16. Or stop by the Portland Business Alliance offices at the World Trade Center, where the team is happy to pass along your donation. Need an extra day? You can drop your donation off at the Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue, Toyota dealerships and KGW Studios by Dec. 17. To learn more, visit: https://kgwtoy.com/.

Keep our city pretty

Organizations like SOLVE go above and beyond to take care of Oregon. In fact, SOLVE and the City of Portland are working together on "Keep it Pretty, Rose City," a campaign that encourages people to clean up Portland's parks, neighborhoods, business districts and everything in between. Look for opportunities to join future cleanups around the city, or organize one of your own with your colleagues, friends or family. To learn more, visit https://www.solveoregon.org/kprc.

Show love to our local, small businesses

If you have spent the holiday season in downtown Portland before, you will remember the PDX Pop-Up Shop program. This year marks the tenth and final year of the program. The program has helped establish several emerging, small, local businesses, many of which are now permanently located and established, such as Crafty Wonderland, Boys Fort, and Bridge and Burn.

This year's Pop-Up Shop features Alshiref and Friends, which showcases local products from more than 20 Portland-based artists, including handmade, locally sourced and custom printed textiles, blown glass drinking cups, handmade soap, woven fabric art, jewelry, ceramic dishware, wood-based art, and prints and illustrations. Make sure to stop by Alshiref and Friends at Pioneer Place before Dec. 31 to show love to these local artists.

I hope this holiday season you take a moment to either visit the heart of our city to support the businesses and cultural events that contribute to our thriving community, or find a way to give back to the programs and organizations dedicated to helping those in need.

On behalf of the board and staff at the Portland Business Alliance, greater Portland's Chamber of Commerce, we wish you a warm and meaningful holiday season.

Vanessa Sturgeon is chair of the Portland Business Alliance board of directors and is president and CEO of TMT Development.


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