Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Portland's small businesses view the future

As part of Portland's visioning project, visionPDX, small neighborhood business associations were surveyed for their views of the future.

A summary document prepared by the Alliance of Portland Neighborhood Business Association (APNBA) describes responses that are part enlightened, part surprising, and part, well, less than surprising.

The three top issues listed in the APNBA’s report are:

• Funding for schools—“A failing education system erodes a civilization,” notes the report, and more funding would “mend the problem of poor educational performance in Portland Public Schools.”

• Solving homelessness—Three reasons were cited: The well being of the people living on the streets is the first concern, the homeless are “a deterrent to operating a business because they annoy customers, and the aggressive panhandling in front of shops, on corners and freeway ramps” discourages tourism.

• Limiting porn—“Respondents said that the city (referred to at one point as “Porn-land”) should find a way to limit porn shops and strip clubs in neighborhoods…” the topic was of particular concern in the city’s outer districts.

In a catch-all section, the business owners offered several sweeping suggestions to make Portland a better place 20 years from now. The following is verbatim from the report:

• Buy locally.
• Every community accept people of all cultures and incomes.
• People support each other’s dreams.
• Teach individual self-sufficiency so people can survive disaster.
• Train citizens to be leaders.
• Teach mediation in high school—and the art of listening.
• “Work to better educate voters who will elect officials (who) represent the values. that we are talking about” (and who) will bring about a “shift in collective consciousness.”

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