A steady stream of local business owners are stepping up to encourage their neighbors, colleagues and customers to support the Fix Our Streets Portland campaign this May to increase the Portland gas tax by ten cents a gallon for four years to repave roads and improve traffic safety. From mom-and-pop retail shops to tech startups, bike shops to law firms, Portland business owners today announced their support for this prudent, thoughtful investment in our infrastructure to avoid costly road repairs in the future.
Leah Benson owns and manages Gladys Bikes, a nationally-recognized bike shop on NE Alberta. Benson stated that her support for the gas tax was based on her experiences with running her small business.
“Ask just about any entrepreneur,” Ms Benson explained, “and they'll tell you that learning to manage the books and make prudent, thoughtful investments is an important skill in preparing for long term success. For a long time now, the City of Portland has been unable to secure the necessary funding to keep up with the inevitable deterioration on our streets. This ongoing lack of repairs has implications to my business, and also the overall quality of life in our community: Better streets means safer, more enjoyable biking and, thus, more bike riders. This is a problem that's not just going to go away; let’s fix our streets now before these repairs get too costly.”
Justin Yuen, a parent and owner of FMYI [for my innovation], a Portland-based software B Corporation, also endorsed the campaign. “After working in Beaverton, I chose to locate my business here in North Portland because I wanted my office to be centrally located for the convenience and accessibility for my employees, clients, and family. FMYI depends on our streets to be in good condition so our employees can get to work safely on foot, bike, bus, and car, pick up our kids from school, and so that Portland remains a desirable place to live so that we can continue to attract top talent to work at our company.”
Matthew Mičetić knows firsthand the importance of safe streets to the vitality of our local small neighborhood businesses. Mičetić owns Red Castle Games, a board game shop in the Mt Scott neighborhood, that faced substantial damages when a speeding car smashed through his storefront last April. “I chose to open my small business on SE Foster because of its accessibility. The Fix Our Streets Portland proposal includes $3.9 million to invest in safety on High Crash Corridors like SE Foster. I’m happy to support a gas tax to make streets safer for my customers and employees who bike, walk, and drive between our vibrant districts in Portland.”
Safety is also on the mind of Scott Kocher, an attorney who represents victims of traffic violence and owns Portland-based Forum Law Group. “It’s time for Portlanders to speak up for safe sidewalks, crossings and streets.” Kocher stated. “My firm supports Fix Our Streets Portland because we support the city’s efforts to eliminate traffic fatalities. It’s time to get this done.”
Portlanders can learn more about the initiative and endorse the campaign online at www.fixourstreetsportland.com.