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The stimulus credits can be used through an app at participating downtown small businesses.

PMG PHOTO: JOSEPH GALLIVAN - Some small businesses downtown are participating in a new stimulus credit program.The Portland Business Alliance and the city of Portland are partnering with Worksystems Inc. and Kuto to distribute a total of $250,000 in stimulus credits to 5,000 downtown workers that can be spent at participating downtown small businesses, according to the PBA. Any person who works downtown one or more days a week was eligible to receive a $50 credit through this program at events throughout May, in support of local participating businesses.

Kuto is a local Black, Indigenous and People of Color startup that plans to use a mobile app to help workers use the stimulus credits at 100 local small businesses.

Andrew Hoan is the president and CEO of the PBA.

"As our community begins to emerge from two-plus years of COVID-19 restrictions, it is imperative that we work together to help Portland come back strong," Hoan said. "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."

According to the PBA, the strategy is part of a larger economic stimulus program that intends to give $500,000 to Portland residents and encourages shopping at local small businesses. It is a part of the Downtown Workers are Here for Portland initiative, which is intended to support revitalizing downtown businesses by encouraging employees to spend money at local businesses as they return to in-person office work.

"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," said Mayor Ted Wheeler. "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."

The PBA is greater Portland's chamber of commerce, and was founded in 1870. Learn more about this initiative here.


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