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Portland companies and nonprofits call for an end to bigoted and anti-democratic movements and pledge to defund them.

PMG FILE PHOTO - Timber Unity supporters made noise outside the Capitol Thursday, Feb. 6, during a rally opposing proposed carbon-reduction legislation.

The Portland Business Alliance has teamed up with the liberal-leaning Western States Center to condemn political violence.

The text of an open letter praised Oregon's "rich tradition" of protest and free speech, portraying it as good for the local economy. The WSC's Executive Director Eric Ward showcased the letter at the PBA's online annual meeting on Tuesday afternoon.

"This vibrant civic engagement continues to draw increasing numbers of people here from across the country seeking a state that routinely challenges itself to be a better place."

It then pointed to a counter-force:

"Disappointingly, bigoted and anti-democratic movements have used those same First Amendment rights as cover for increasing direct threats and physical violence to build political power. As leaders, we believe that escalating political violence threatens to dismantle our democratic institutions."

The letter is part of the growing effort to re-brand Portland back to its pre-pandemic and pre-George Floyd uprising image as a place of tolerance, good jobs and in-migration. Just last Sunday, Travel Portland placed a full-page ad in the New York Times as part of its "This is Portland" campaign. That text included these lines:

"We have some of the loudest voices on the West Coast. And yes, passion pushes the volume all the way up. We've always been like this. We wouldn't have it any other way."

The signers to the PBA and Western States Center letter included some private companies such as TMT Development and Melvin Mark Properties. However, most signers were small companies, nonprofits and government groups that denounced "Attacks on access to our democracy, and threats of violence… and bigoted and anti-democratic activity," without being specific.

The letter said that rebuilding after the pandemic recession would not be easy with continued "assaults on inclusive democracy" in Oregon.

PMG FILE PHOTO: ZANE SPARLING - Broken glass and damage is shown here at a different Starbucks inside the Standard Insurance building in downtown Portland earlier this year.

"Our leaders must condemn bigotry and recommit to safeguarding basic democratic norms."

It linked fighting bigotry and anti-democratic actions with prosperity for all Oregonians.

Parts of the letter could be broadly interpreted as applying to the political left or right.

"Elected officials who explicitly or subtly encourage this political violence should be held accountable."

However, the letter went on to target QAnon conspirators who are mostly right-wing and pro-Donald Trump, "Anyone indulging conspiracy theories or engaging with movements that exploit bigotry to raise campaign dollars is complicit."

The signers then issued a series of eight pledges, including to:

  • Commit to not engaging in political activities that undermine democratic institutions but instead strengthen them and make them more inclusive and equitable.
  • Commit to withholding all forms of support, including campaign contributions, for political candidates who either actively support political violence or neglect to condemn political violence when it comes from their allies or supporters.
  • The signees were:

  • Blackbird Benets Collective
  • Brand Mechanic
  • Brown & Brown NW Insurance
  • Buckingham Strategic Wealth
  • Business for a Better Portland
  • Crayon Advisory, LLC
  • Fubonn Shopping Center
  • Fuze7 Marketing
  • Gard Communications
  • Greater Portland Inc.
  • Melvin Mark Companies
  • North Star Civic Foundation
  • Oregon Beverage Recycling
  • Cooperative
  • Oregon Entrepreneurs Network
  • Oregon League of Conservation Voters
  • Oregon Pride in Business (formally PABA)
  • Oregon Tradeswomen
  • Oregon Wild
  • Portland Business Alliance
  • Portland General Electric
  • Portland Metropolitan Association of Realtors
  • Produce Row Property Management Co.
  • Rational Unicorn Legal Services
  • ROSE Community Development
  • TenBridge Partners
  • TMT Development
  • Tonkon Torp
  • The full text of the letter can be read here.

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