A large part of Portland’s business community runs on a “gig” economy. Bars, restaurants and entertainment venues represent a substantial portion of the business done in Portland.

With voluntary and mandatory closures of businesses underway, employees in this economy face an existential economic threat from the coronavirus, since they cannot work from home via computer. On top of this, the city has recently invested significantly in expanding the waterfront area to accommodate an expanding cruise ship tourist opportunity, which is likely to also suffer losses in the upcoming summer travel season.

These are clearly exceptional times for our city. I would like to suggest the following to the mayor and the City Council: Set up a fund, which individuals can donate to, that would help the Portland businesses that are most affected by the coronavirus. As a further motivation, find a way to make these donations tax deductible. There is recent precedent for something like this being successful. When the city faced a shortage of funds to help take care of the influx of immigrants last year, citizens of the Portland-area communities stepped up and help mitigate the city’s financial shortfall.

Let us all remember: It is the small, locally owned businesses that provide Portland its unique character. Portlanders have always been generous. For those who are able, let’s step up and help out. Portland Pride.

Samuel Rosenthal

Portland

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