Small Business Owners: Gas Tax A Smart Investment

Entrepreneurs and business leaders across Portland continue to join street safety advocates, environmentalists, education advocates, and elected officials by expressing their support for a YES vote on Measure 26-173.

Kay Newell owns Sunlan Lighting, a light bulb shop on in North Portland, and expressed her support for the gas tax. "I've owned my business on N Mississippi for 27 years, and I've watched our roads crumble due to lack of funding. Maintenance is cheaper than repair, and I think ten cents a gallon is a small amount to address our potholes and missing sidewalks. I'm voting Yes to Fix Our Streets."

James and Laura Armstrong own Alberta Eye Care in Northeast Portland. "We opened our eyewear storefront here because we wanted to invest in our community. We support the gas tax on the ballot this May because it represents a smart investment in the streets that connect our community to the rest of the city, and we're supportive of funding safety projects in neighborhoods that need it the most." Mr. Armstrong also spoke approvingly of the need for new funding for repaving NE Alberta and for Safe
Routes to School funding in East Portland.

Among the new business leaders endorsing the gas tax is the Portland Independent Chamber of Commerce. “This gas tax will provide sorely needed revenue to avoid costly road rebuilds in the future and to ensure Portland remains an attractive and affordable place to raise a family and start a business,” stated William Henderson, PICOC Board member and founder of Knock Software. “PICOC is excited to endorse the Fix Our Streets Portland campaign, our first-ever political endorsement. This is an important first step, and we call on our political leaders to work with Portland businesses old and new to find an equitable, comprehensive and long-term solution to fund investments in safe streets for every Portlander, regardless of which neighborhood they call home,” added Mara Zepeda, PICOC Board Member and co-founder/CEO of Switchboard.

Local business leader Tom Imeson is serving as co-chair of the Fix Our Streets Portland campaign. “It’s not surprising Portland business owners big and small, old and new endorse this campaign. Anyone who has driven on our roads or walked on East Portland’s busy thoroughfares would agree: It’s time to fix our streets, and a gas tax is a fair way to do it.” 

The proposal would raise $64 million in street maintenance and safety projects to avoid costly road repairs through a temporary, four year, ten cent gas tax. $35.8 million of the revenue raised would go towards street maintenance projects, which city officials estimate will have a 10:1 return on investment by avoiding costly repairs in the future. Measure 26-173 will appear before voters on the ballot on May 17.