leasanton, CA — January 12, 2022 — NextHome was recently named No. 1 on Franchise Business Review’s list of the Top Franchises for 2022. This is the 17th annual ranking of the 200 best franchise opportunities as rated by franchise business owners and NextHome’s second year in a row receiving the No. 1 recognition.
NextHome, Inc. is an independently owned national franchisor with a focus on changing the way consumers work with local agents and shop for real estate online. The NextHome franchise, founded in 2014, has 570+ offices and 5,200+ members across 48 states. The company closes over 36,000 transactions annually worth over $11.8B in volume.
Franchise Business Review, a market research firm that performs independent surveys of franchisee satisfaction and employee engagement, provides the only rankings and awards for franchise companies based solely on actual franchisee satisfaction and performance. Franchise Business Review publishes its rankings of the top 200 franchises in its annual Guide to Today’s Top Franchises.
NextHome was among over 300 franchise brands, representing more than 30,000 franchise owners, that participated in Franchise Business Review’s research. NextHome’s franchisees were surveyed on 33 benchmark questions about their experience and satisfaction regarding critical areas of their franchise systems, including training & support, operations, franchisor/franchisee relations, and financial opportunity.
“While the pandemic impacted various business sectors differently, the last two years have clearly demonstrated the inherent strengths of the franchise business model. The old franchise adage of ‘being in business for yourself, but not by yourself’ has never been more important,” said Franchise Business Review founder & CEO Eric Stites. “Thanks to fast innovations, significant support, and responsive crisis management, many franchise brands have emerged stronger from the pandemic, and that is reflected in high franchisee satisfaction.”
“Being ranked the No. 1 franchise across all industries by Franchise Business Review for the second year in a row is an incredible achievement, and it’s all thanks to our members and amazing corporate staff,” said James Dwiggins, Chief Executive Officer of NextHome, Inc. “Without their hard work and passion for making a difference in the real estate industry, NextHome wouldn’t be where it is today. Our Humans Over Houses philosophy is fostered in every decision we make as a franchise. Receiving this award confirms we are continuing to lead in the right direction for our members and is the reason we love what we do every day.”
“As an independent research firm, Franchise Business Review is committed to helping prospective franchisees get an objective view of the best franchise opportunities, based on actual feedback from franchise owners,” said Michelle Rowan, president & COO of Franchise Business Review. “We survey franchisees from franchise companies in the marketplace today and identify those with the highest levels of satisfaction and performance in order to educate potential buyers and help them choose which franchise to invest in. The companies on this year’s list of Top Franchises are the top-ranked brands in the key areas critical to their franchisees’ success.”
Here are five reasons why your business needs you to prioritize important tasks to grow.
What’s the most valuable thing in the world?
Now, if your answer was a materialistic one, you are wrong. Time is the one we are talking about. Ever wondered what the common difference between the business owners who succeed and those who fail is? The answer lies in successfully managing your time.
What is time management for business?
Believe me, feeling the pressure of running out of time on a deadline is a huge stress, especially when juggling several tasks in your business. That’s where time management comes in to save your business.
Time management for your business includes prioritizing important tasks, designating time to complete those tasks and then committing to complete those tasks within that time frame.
Successful people multitask a lot, but they make sure to spend the bulk of their time on important tasks that are much more conducive to their business’s success than dwindling on unimportant ones. Time management skills require discipline. They make you work smart instead of only working hard. You’ll get more things done in less time for your business. That’s the secret of success.
You may not have the motivation to change your routine or ways of working if you don’t yet have a clear picture of how crucial time management is for your business.
Let’s learn about five reasons why your business needs you to learn time management for its survival.
1. Accomplish more in less
The first and foremost reason why your business needs your time management skills is that time is always in a limited supply. There are only 24 hours in a day. You have to make do in whatever time you get in a day.
Whether you have a business meeting or any specific task completion, all you have is a set amount of hours. Understanding that time is finite helps you understand its value more clearly. With time management, you can accomplish more in lesser time.
That makes you focus on important business meetings and marketing presentations more than other lesser tasks you can designate. That focus translates into a higher level of productivity for your business.
2. Better decision making
Most of the time, your business needs you to prioritize your tasks according to importance. With good time management skills, all of that can be a lot easier to manage.
Easier management of tasks relieves you of any work-related stress and makes you think clearly. It makes you focus on the tasks at hand much more efficiently.
With good time management you can develop better ideas, make wiser decisions and find solutions quickly for any stumbling blocks in your business.
3. More time for business expansion
Time management isn’t only limited to handling your business more effectively and efficiently. It also gives you more time to learn something new and explore new ventures to help expand your business.
The extra time you will have at hand will give you opportunities to take your business forward, acquire new skills and look towards the horizon. The new endeavors will then provide you with even more prospects and potential growth.
4. Relieving stress
Being able to manage your time efficiently directly impacts your health and business. Imagine facing fewer surprises, reducing the number of tight deadlines and eliminating the need to rush from one task to another all day long.
You can only garner peace of mind when you can manage your time well enough in your business. Being constantly busy to feel a little accomplished, but still never completing the tasks will take its toll on your mental health and deteriorate your decision-making skills.
That’s why your business needs you to learn time management. You’ll improve your ability to meet tight deadlines while staying calm and composed.
5. Increasing the quality of work and services
Working on a tight schedule with strict deadlines can severely hinder the quality of your work in your business. Did you ever come across a situation where a deadline was near, but you could have provided much higher quality work had you been given a little more time?
Imagine giving a presentation to somebody about an important business proposition, but missing a few crucial points and questions due to mental stress and unavailability of time. That’s where your time management skills will help your business. If you are planning and managing the time constraints wisely, you will focus more on certain tasks without taking stress. That will, in turn, increase the quality of your output.
Your business needs you — not an ordinary you, but you at your best. To give it your best, start excelling at time management. Figure out where you are losing time. Ensure that you prioritize your tasks as per their importance, which will help you make the biggest progress toward your ultimate goal: expanding and growing your business.
Remember one thing, your time management skills won’t take your time. They will make time for you instead. They will allow you to do more in a shorter time.
You will start seeing the positive impact on your business in no time. Your work quality will improve. You will roam around stress-free and focus more on newer and bigger opportunities efficiently. You will feel that only now you have positioned yourself to succeed.
At Miami Nice, you may not immediately realize you’re eating vegan. The croquettas are fried up tightly, and the Cubanito is neatly pressed. Many menu items are versions of street/comfort food that owner Valerie Espinoza loves—with a vegan twist. The chop salad comes with marinated soy curls on top instead of chicken. The dish’s bright yellow sauce draws stares; it’s a mixture of curry, mustard and mayonnaise she worked on to get just right. Other menu items stand out for their Mami-specific flavor, like the Big Papi, which has green olives in the picadillo instead of raisins. The starchy food works well to stave off the high ABV in beers at Culmination Brewing, where Espinoza runs the kitchen.
For conventional ice cream, we’ve long loved Cool Moon best. The chocolate flavors are more Valrhona than Hershey’s, and there remains a solid core of unusual—but consistently creamy—naturally flavored and well-balanced offerings. Definitely order the kulfi, redolent of cardamom and rose water, Thai iced tea and Mexican-influenced horchata cookie.
At Anthony Brown’s relatively new brick and mortar—formerly a garishly teal-colored food truck—, Mexican favorites get hitched to Southern food and Cajun-Creole flavors. You can find “Mexicajun” food in both Louisiana and Southeast Texas, but it’s a rare concept in Portland, if not entirely unheard of. The “Nacheaux nachos” start with a big pile of fresh-fried chips and also feature carnitas that could just as easily be cochon au lait, while a cheesy “crunchwrap” comes stuffed with red beans, dirty rice and fried chicken.
Cully Central is something unique in Portland: a Lao beer bar with 20 handles, boasting favorites from Breakside and pFriem. It turns out dishes you can’t find anywhere else, in particular a subtle khao piek sen chicken noodle soup with thick and chewy rice noodles and a light cinnamon and pepper broth.
Cooperativa has a lot of what you need in a beautiful, air-conditioned environment—it’s a grocery store, a coffee shop, an ice cream place, a sandwich shop, a bar, a restaurant and a pizzeria, infused with the vibe and flavors of Bologna, Florence, Rome and the Italian “slow food” movement. Never go outside again!
For some, the pandemic’s restrictions have come as an opportunity to lean in to the needs of your inner introvert. Whether that’s leaving a grocery store when it’s too crowded or sitting alone in the middle of an empty park for fun, these little gifts will be harder to give yourself as society returns to a post-vaccine pace. Even if you’re excited to attend your first post-COVID concert or counting the days to your first house party, finding time to be alone should remain on your to-do list. Fortunately, Portland is home to many great places that offer solace from humanity. Need to get away from it all? Look no further than these free and low-cost options:
I grew up a ten minute drive from the Pacific Ocean, which made the beach my go-to escape if I needed some alone time. With ocean beaches now more than an hours’ drive away, I’ve relied on a local stand-in to obtain that dramatic feeling that comes with standing at the oceans’ shore. I’ve found that at Kelley Point Park, the far North Portland city park at the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia rivers. Sure, it’s no ocean, but the sandy banks, small waves, and seagulls help set the mood. Kelley Point doesn’t just offer a quasi-beach experience, but it’s home to a few lovely meadows for picnics and sun lounging. If you’re feeling adventurous, bring a bike and explore the park’s paved bike trails, or hop on the nearby Marine Drive bike trail for some Columbia River views.
Among the hustle and bustle of Portland’s Old Town/Chinatown sits Lan Su Chinese Garden, an serene oasis of native Chinese plants representing the relationship between Portland and its sister city of Suzhou, China. The walled-off garden and tea house, which occupies an entire city block, was built to be a place of meditation and reflection. This goal is captured in a poem inscribed on a garden pavilion by Suzhou poet Wen Zhengming: “Most cherished in this mundane world is a place without traffic; Truly in the midst of the city there can be mountain and forest.” To ensure this feeling is captured in Lan Su during COVID-19, the garden currently requires guests to reserve a time slot for a visit before showing up.
We all have our favorite Portland ex-volcanoes. For many, that’s Mount Tabor, and for good reason. But for those who find themselves often overwhelmed by Tabor’s crowds, might I suggest: Powell Butte! With numerous trails winding through dense cedar forests and airy grasslands, it’s easy to forget that Powell Butte is located in the middle of busy Southeast Portland, nestled between SE Powell and SE Foster, at SE 162nd. Visit the free city park on a clear day for stunning views of Mount Hood and Mount St. Helens, which can be enjoyed from the parking lot as well as a hiking trail.
If you’re like me, you’ve passed that sprawling, bucolic dog park on the north side of Interstate 84 as you cross the Sandy River and thought, “this is why I need to get a dog.” If this is the case, I have some excellent news for you: Dog ownership is not required to enjoy the 1,500-acre Sandy River Delta park! Sure, it’s a perfect place to let your urban pup run wild, but the park has offerings for anyone trying to temporarily disengage from humanity. The vast expanse of forest, beach, and meadows allows for horseback riding, hiking, biking, wading, fishing, birdwatching, and other solo activities. Avoid a ticket (and support the preservation of natural areas, you jerk) by paying the $5 parking fee before you start exploring.
Arboretums are notoriously excellent places to escape from the world. Located in Washington Park, Portland’s Hoyt Arboretum boasts 12 miles of hiking trails winding across 189 acres through more than 2,000 species of trees. Hoyt truly has something for everyone: If you’re looking for an evergreen escape, take the Redwood Trail; seeking springtime blooms, saunter down the Magnolia Trail, hoping for some fall color, peep the Maple Trail. Hiking isn’t mandatory in the arboretum, I also recommend bringing a blanket and a book to sit under a tree of your choosing on a warm day.
If there’s one thing consistently and earnestly keeping Portland weird, it’s the Grotto. Technically called the “National Sanctuary of our Sorrowful Mother,” the Grotto is an mostly-outdoor Catholic shrine centered around a 110-foot cliff in Northeast Portland. But just like you don’t need a dog to go to the Sandy River delta, you don’t need to be Catholic to visit the Grotto. Visitors can sit peacefully and gaze into the abyss of a giant cave-shrine (featuring a replica of the Pietà) for free, or pay $8 to ride the cliff elevator up to the manicured gardens, a collection of small shrines dedicated to different countries that practice Catholicsm, a labyrinth for guests to walk “in contemplation,” and a “meditation chapel,” that, despite looking like the headquarters of a dystopian religious cult, is actually a peaceful space with great views of Washington. If you’re seeking solitude with a side of wacky, pick the Grotto.
If cemeteries give you the willies, I urge you to take a chance on Lone Fir, the majestic historic cemetery in Southeast Portland. According to its caretaker, Metro Regional Government, the cemetery’s 700 beautiful flowering and evergreen trees (including the original lone fir—look for the plaque) make it Portland’s second-largest arboretum. Like any old cemetery, Lone Fir is full of stories. Whether it’s the the story of James and Elizabeth Stephens, the adorable pioneer couple chiseled in rock in the cemetery’s northwest corner, or the story of Block 14, the gravely southwest patch that holds the unmarked graves of more than 1,000 Chinese immigrants and former patients of the Hawthorne Asylum (the state’s first psychiatric hospital), a wander through Lone Fir Cemetery can turn into an ad-hoc history lesson. You’ll find familiar Portland names on the headstones—Pettygrove, Pittock, Cully, Tibbets, Hawthorne—and find sun-dappled benches for deep breaths and contemplation.
But the city’s suburbs and exurbs are even hotter markets.
Remote work wasn’t the reason Dwight and Carla Hager decided to move out of their house in Portland’s Reed neighborhood last summer, but it blew their list of possible destinations wide open.
Dwight’s commute used to take him to either Kaiser Permanente’s Sunnyside or Hillsboro facilities, depending on the day. But when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, his call center shifts turned into work-from-home days. The new schedule—coupled with Carla’s planned retirement in a few years—meant the two could potentially have moved as far as McMinnville, Dwight says. They ultimately settled on Wilsonville as the sweet spot between city amenities, open space, and a reasonable commute.
Like the Hagers, plenty of Portlanders jumped farther out from the city in the past year. The housing market is surging throughout Portland and the surrounding counties, fueled by record-low interest rates and a desire for more space during a pandemic that’s kept many families cooped up together for months on end.
“An urban-to-suburban trend has been something that’s been widely talked about,” says Terry Wollam, managing broker at Wollam & Associates in Vancouver. “It’s not just urban-to-suburban, but it’s also suburban-to-rural.”
Wollam says he’s seen increased interest as far up Interstate 5 as Kalama and Kelso. On the Oregon side, Clackamas, Sandy, Boring, and Damascus have all become more popular destinations, according to Christopher Love, managing broker at the Woodstock office of John L. Scott Real Estate.
A recent John L. Scott Portland-area analysis shows a pattern of shrinking inventories and faster sales in the second half of 2020. The percentage of homes with pending sales in their first 30 days on the market hovered at 40–50 percent in 2019, but has been above 60 percent since June. The same pattern can be seen to an even greater degree in Clackamas, Washington, Columbia, and Clark Counties, where the 30-day-sales percentages ranged from about 68 to 86 percent between June and November 2020.
There’s another, less-conventional indicator of rural growth, Wollam says: a booming market for septic systems in new houses beyond the reach of municipal sewers. Cory McNair, owner of McNair Septic Design and Consulting in Clark County,just over the river in Washington, says 2020 was one of the company’s busiest years.
Some of the growth was in repair work, he says—existing systems failing under heavier use—but much of it was also in new systems for fresh construction in towns like Yacolt, Woodland, and Kalama.
It’s easy to see where the demand comes from. More than 800,000 Oregonians—around 40 percent of the state’s workforce—are capable of remote work based on their industries, according to a July 2020 report from the Oregon Employment Department.
Working from home makes long commutes less of an issue, and it pushes people farther from the urban core in search of roomier houses with space for work, school, and recreation.
“We’ve seen more people want to buy houses with pools and workout facilities, the extra amenities that they can do at home, and when they stretch outside of the city limits their dollar stretches further,” says Jessica Tindell, president of the Portland Metro Association of Realtors.
The pandemic accelerated the suburban trend, but it didn’t create it. Love says his office has seen increased interest in the suburbs and exurbs for a couple of years, driven by a desire for lower property taxes and more space as Portland proper becomes denser.
“I think [COVID] was a scale-tipper,” Love says. “That was the last straw.’”
Wollam says he’s also seen a big surge in additions and renovations. The inner Portland market also remains highly sought after, Love says, with plenty of newcomers and locals who want to downsize or upsize.
Ultimately, single-family homes with space for home offices are in demand across the board, says Gerard Mildner, academic director at Portland State University’s Center for Real Estate. Buying a new house is a long-term commitment, but buyers and even some employers seem willing to bet remote work will stick around.
For example, Riverview Community Bank switched about 100 of the 237 employees at its Washington and Oregon branches to remote work, says executive vice president Kim Capeloto. The customer service staff will eventually need to return, but there’s a backroom contingent that may be able to stay remote.
“I think we’ll still have folks that operate remotely, for sure,” he says. “I think that it’ll end up being more of an option.”
Advocates hope venues will rethink their profit models and center young, diverse talent when the COVID haze clears.
Last summer, after Congress introduced the Save Our Stages Act to create grants for shuttered music venues, fans across the country wrote 2.1 million letters to their representatives asking them to support the bill. The National Independent Venue Association tallied the number of letters from specific jurisdictions, and the result? Oregonians wrote more than anyone else in the country. While the Oregon Shakespeare Festival received the largest grant from the $50 million in federal CARES Act funds distributed in the state, Portland music venues also saw a solid chunk of that money.
“Portland is a music city. Nashville didn’t come through and write millions of letters to their representatives,” says Jim Brunberg, vice president of NIVA and co-owner of Revolution Hall and Mississippi Studios (with just a little exaggeration). “Portland did.”
Now, with COVID keeping venues closed for the foreseeable future, some local experts say the Portland music scene has an opportunity to revisit its priorities when the pandemic ends. The major theme? Loop in young people, and center talent.
In 2015, André Middleton founded Friends of Noise, an organization that hopes to create an all-ages venue centered on young musicians and sound engineers. Last summer, Friends of Noise lobbied the city for CARES funding to create such a venue. It didn’t work out, as funds were already spoken for. Instead, the organization, which in pre-COVID times ran music business and sound engineering workshops for teenagers, has continued to act as a sort of talent agency for emerging musicians. Over the summer, it produced six concerts at local parks featuring young talent (all of whom the organization paid) and did pro bono sound production for about 20 Black Lives Matter protests in the metro area.
There are currently no small all-ages venues in the city. One of the barriers to keeping these clubs open is the labyrinth of rules that regulate alcohol sales in Oregon. Larger venues, like the Roseland and the Crystal Ballroom, have often struck a compromise where adults could buy alcohol if they stood in a specific area. But Middleton argues the business model of most venues, where alcohol sales are a profit center and the entertainers just a hook to draw people in, is fundamentally flawed.
“I would love it if Portland could have an arts venue where the sale of alcohol was secondary to creating a venue for the enjoyment of the artists,” Middleton says.
One option is a public-private partnership, or a local tax subsidizing venues specifically. Ultimately, Middleton wants to open a community venue in East Portland led by musicians color. “Obviously people of color are part of the music ecosystem in Portland, but they don’t get the profits that it generates,” he says.
Meara McLaughlin, executive director of advocacy group Music Portland, says new music business models might include VIP events or subscription services. She also notes the Centers for Disease Control is telegraphing that live music events should have firmer start and end times to allow for cleaning, which could have the unintended benefit of making them more accessible to audiences young and old who need to get up early for work or school. And in the near future, she says, touring isn’t going to be a possibility, so all live music will be local. That means Portlanders need to take extra care to support the local scene. If our letter writing is anything to go on, there’s plenty of reason to believe we will.
William Haseltine’s family made their fortune selling hardware, but his 1935 Georgian Colonial house in Portland’s Grant Park neighborhood is best remembered for politics and religion: At a post-WWII cocktail party, the well-connected Haseltine hosted then-Republican Oregon senator Wayne Morse, who in 1952 declared himself a Democrat, making the Senate evenly divided.
In the 1970s, the mansion was donated to the Society of the Sisters of the Holy Name of Jesus and Mary.
Today, the storied, quarter-acre property at 3231 N.E. US Grant Place, named after the 18th president, is for sale at $1,939,000.
This home was Parker’s last project before his untimely death in 1939 at age 44, according to the research documents that earned the William A. Haseltine House a spot on the National Register of Historic Places.
Parker excelled at designing handsome, functional spaces. Here, closets have lighting, shelving and other features specific for each room.
A coat closet near the front door has a built-in umbrella holder and a tin drain in the floor to carry away raindrops. Another entry closet has a desktop with a drawer for the mail.
The dining room closet has felt-lined slats to store table extensions and the butler’s pantry has display shelves, glass-door cabinets and under-counter storage space for silverware and table linens.
Near the upstairs bedrooms is a lockable cedar-lined closet; another closet has removable paneling to hide valuables.
Designer Jenny Reillyof Reilly Signature Homes, who owns the home, restored the interior’s Federal-style details while weaving in features that support modern needs, like an eight-foot-long Calacatta gold marble island in the kitchen.
The library is encased in vertical grain hemlock, including cabinet doors, bookcases, wall paneling and the mantel over the brick fireplace. The formal rooms have pocket doors and five-panel doors. Even the Chinoiserie wallpaper was preserved on the staircase wall.
“People love to hear the stories of homes and who they were built for and or lived in them,” says Susie Hunt Moran of Moran Homes and Windermere Realty Trust, who listed the property for sale with Matt Moran. “We have found that including this in our marketing does increase followings. Not much is really written on these beautiful homes.”
Grant Park honors President Ulysses S. Grant, who visited Portland three times. The Dolph Park area near Grant Park was named in 1924 for Eliza Dolph, a descendent of Charles Cardinell who bought a former donation land claim in 1887 and laid out the Fernwood subdivision into city blocks. Author Beverly Cleary grew up here and it inspired the setting for her beloved Ramona Quimby children’s books.
Haseltine was a member of a pioneering family, and was influential in Portland’s cultural, educational and political arenas until his death in 1976.
The Haseltine family owned and operated J.E. Haseltine & Co., which sold hardware, mill and shop supplies, welding equipment, automotive hardware, sporting goods, tires and batteries from 1883-1961. The Haseltine building is on the corner of Southwest 2nd Avenue and Southwest Ash Street in Old Town Portland.
William A. Haseltine lived 20 years in the house with clear western cedar horizontal beveled siding. Before he moved out in 1954, business, political and cultural leaders of the time gathered here. Haseltine grew a WWII victory garden in the large backyard beyond the covered veranda.
The master suite has a balcony overlooking the gardens. There are five morebedrooms, three remodeled bathrooms and a lower level “party” room with vertical-grain hemlock paneling and a brick fireplace plus a detached two-car garage.
Who would love this property? “It’s a true entertainer’s dream house with the most amazing kitchen as well as backyard spaces,” says Susie Hunt Moran of her listing near the new Ulysses S. Grant High School. “The area is super walkable and perfect for the people who want space to spread out not only inside their home but great outdoor living spaces.”
— Janet Eastman with additional research by Kaya Blauvelt
“Letty Martinez, Shiny Flanary and Xochitl Garnica spent the spring and summer taming weeds and planting crops on their new two-acre farm on Portland’s Sauvie Island.
They teamed up to rent the land for their farming collective, which takes donations so it can provide some of its produce to low-income customers for free. As the farm grows, they’re hoping to add growing tunnels and a greenhouse with lighting and refrigeration powered by solar panels and batteries.
“As you can see, we’re really off the grid,” Garnica said, gesturing to the open field around her. “All of that will really help us a lot so we can help the community that really needs fresh produce.”
Garnica, an indigenous Mexican, said she knows how expensive fresh produce can be at local grocery stores like New Seasons and Trader Joe’s.
“My family, we can’t afford to go to those places,” she said.
That means they could benefit from the new pot of grant money available through the Portland Clean Energy Fund — a climate action program created and led by communities of color.
Martinez said the program could help their farm break away from an unjust economic system that hasn’t served them in the past and leaves too many people without access to healthy food.
“It doesn’t work,” she said. “It doesn’t consider everyone and a lot of people end up with nothing at the end of it. We want folks to leave here with armfuls of whatever it is that they need.”
While their farmland is providing food for people in need, it’s also preserving green space in the city and sequestering carbon in the soil through regenerative farming practices. Plus, it creates farming jobs for people of color.
Portland City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty calls the program her baby, which she helped create to diversify the world of renewable energy.
“We’re talking about energy efficiency, but we’re also talking about workforce development,” she said. “If you look at the green field today it’s predominantly white male.”
Hardesty said the program is already changing the way underserved communities are thinking about their future.
“They couldn’t even envision, how do I have solar panels? How do I add a green roof to my building? But today they’re starting to think about: What would that look like?” she said. “This is a game changer for Portland and quite frankly, I think, nationally.”
The program has guidelines for spending grant money in several areas, with 40-60% going to energy projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions like weatherizing homes and adding solar panels, 20-25% for workforce development and training for clean energy jobs like installing solar panels, 10-15% for regenerative farming and green infrastructure and 5% for “innovation.”
The retailers that make $1 billion in sales nationally and $500,000 in Portland are subject to a 1% surcharge on their gross revenues to fund the program. Last year, the Portland City Council pared back the number of businesses that are subject to that surcharge, exempting construction contractors, retirement plans and garbage and recycling services.
The money comes at a critical time for groups that are fighting for racial justice and suffering disproportionately from the coronavirus pandemic, though it’s not clear yet who exactly who will benefit.
Sam Baraso, who manages the PCEF program for the Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability said the fund, will help address “centuries of underinvestment” in low-income neighborhoods and communities of color, where people face higher risks from climate change impacts such as extreme heat and weather events, air pollution and wildfire smoke.
“We know that a majority of those beneficiaries were high-income households,” Baraso said. “Oregon’s been a great state in making these investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy. However, those benefits have not accrued to low income and communities of color.”
Anissa Pemberton, a program coordinator with the Coalition of Communities of Color, said the money will be a great help to the Black and Latinx communities that have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.
“We see this as a economic recovery tool,” Pemberton said. “I am hopeful that it will provide a stabilizing force for some low-income Portlanders, especially the folks who are looking for a new job.”
Pemberton said communities of color took the lead in designing the clean energy fund amid a lack of federal leadership on climate change.
“People of color communities in general, we have known for a long time that no one is coming to help us,” Pemberton said. “We’ve always had to find our own solutions.”
Businesses that fought against the program are now watching its evolution with a critical eye. The city of Portland had originally planned on distributing its first PCEF grants this year, but it recently extended the deadline for grant applications to Nov. 23 and plans to announce the grant awards in February.
Andrew Hoan is the CEO of the Portland Business Alliance, a group of more than 1,900 businesses that fought against the ballot measure that created the program. He said the business community supports the goals of the program but disagrees with the way it’s being funded.
“In light of an economically devastating year that 2020 represents and additional tax increases that have happened over the past two years, it’s a very challenging business environment we find ourselves in today,” he said, noting the coronavirus pandemic, violent political protests and massive wildfires, have all taken big tolls.
The city denied a request from business interests to stop collecting the PCEF surcharge during the pandemic. So, businesses are still paying into the fund, but very little money has been invested, Hoan said.
“This was approved in 2018, and two years later we are unaware of any large-scale expenses of the fund or job creation numbers that are available,” he said. “We really do need an effectively operating Portland Clean Energy Fund. We need it to deliver on promises made to voters.”
Robin Wang, a nonprofit executive, is one of nine grant committee members who will choose which projects get funded. He said he knows critics are watching closely to make sure the money is spent properly.
“I was a little skeptical about the initiative as a voter,” he said. “You know, sometimes money is wasted through government.”
He said the committee has been moving carefully toward making funding decisions because the program is the first of its kind and there’s no model to follow, but now there are millions of dollars waiting to be spent at a time when the money is desperately needed.
“So, there is this kind of tension between getting it done quickly and getting it done right,” he said.
Each of the program areas has its own measures of success, he noted, but ultimately the goal is to strike a balance between reducing carbon emissions and supporting the people who are most at risk in a warming world.
“People want it to be simple,” he said. “They just want to say, you know, we pulled 20 million tons of carbon from the air, right? That’s nice. But the reality is more complicated than that.”’
This article was written by Cassandra Profita. You can find the source article, here.
Businesses turn their interests into suburban markets for more space and to be closer to their employees.
In the third quarter of 2020, the amount of office space in Portland has increased compared with the previous quarter as a result of the pandemic, causing companies to reevaluate the location and space they need for their employees. In the second quarter, total office space has increased from 15.5 percent to 17 percent; The commercial real estate firm says that although this dip is abnormal, it has grown due to more companies subleasing their office space or not renewing leases.
The nature of office work has been influenced completely by the COVID-19 pandemic, with many employees working from home and fewer workers going into the office due to social-distancing requirements. Some businesses have chosen to get rid of the office altogether, resulting in all employees working from home.
“The trend has profound implications for Portland downtown businesses that rely on foot traffic from office workers, such as restaurants and retailers, and hotels that rely on business travelers” (Moore, 4).
The pandemic draws more attention to the suburban market for offices, leading to a renaissance of suburban-office markets. The vacancy rate for office space in the suburbs was 10.7% in the third quarter, virtually unchanged from the previous quarter – this includes Beaverton, Hillsboro, Clackamas, and Tualatin.
The trending increased interest in the suburban market has stood out for tenants interested in more space and being closer to their employees.
Although downtown had the largest increase in vacancy rates, the three biggest deals of the third quarter were located in the downtown area.
Tenants have leaned towards flexible or short-term leases due to the uncertainty that comes with the coronavirus and how the office market will adapt.
This blog post was written by Krista Pham, our intern.
The article that inspired this piece can be found, here.
This past Friday, Governor Kate Brown and the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) announced new COVID-19 restrictions on five counties: Umatilla, Malheur, Marion, Jackson, and Multnomah. After several weeks of unprecedented spread, stricter measures have been placed since the initial “stay home, stay safe” measures were implemented in March. Though Oregon has been doing better limiting the spread, Brown says we need to go back to our offensive strategies against the virus. The biggest challenge is the increasing outbreak is not due to school or workplace gatherings, but small social gatherings and one-on-one meetings.
Due to the increasing COVID-19 rates, counties with exceptionally high cases will be put on a two-week pause for social gatherings, starting November 11th to November 25th. “Businesses in those counties are encouraged to have employees work from home when possible, restaurants and bars are asked to limit dining to outdoor seating or take-out whenever possible, and businesses are asked to cap their total capacity at 50” (Ross, 3). In addition, visits to long-term care facilities will also be paused and private social gatherings are asked to be limited.
Governor Brown is frustrated at the number of Oregonians not taking restrictions seriously. Looking at the data, it is clear that not everyone is listening to the suggested guidelines. “Let me be very clear: For this two-week pause, please, please, please limit your social interactions to your own household,” Gov. Kate Brown expresses. If cases continue to rise, Brown will increase restrictions.
The two-week pause is intended to be either a wake-up call or call to action, for those who aren’t taking COVID-19 seriously. If people do not change their behavior, COVID-19 will grow out of control.
Once a county has a rate of 200 infections per 100,000 residents, new restrictions will come into effect for two weeks or more. “There are separate metrics for smaller, rural counties. Currently, five counties — Umatilla, Malheur, Marion, Jackson, and Multnomah — have crossed the 200-case threshold and will be put under the increased restrictions” (Ross, 7). Washington, Baker, Clackamas, Union, and Linn counties are also seeing cases rise at a rapid rate and are on the border of being added to the pause list; OHA plans to reevaluate its numbers today.
It is important to remember that just because a county is not currently on the pause list, does not mean people should continue their lives as normal.
These policy changes are also hoped to be reflected in social gatherings as well for all Oregonians. Previously, officials have raised concerns that looser COVID-19 restrictions in public could potentially result in people taking fewer precautions in their private/social lives. These new public restrictions are hoped to convince people to take more daily precautions.
“The new call for action comes as cases climb across Oregon, with a record of 805 new cases reported Thursday. On Friday, 770 new cases were reported” (Ross, 14). Oregon reported 3,542 new COVID-19 cases from the week of October 26th-November 4th; The highest number yet, 34% higher than the previous week.
In terms of exponential growth, the rate is incredibly concerning. The numbers Oregon is seeing are far beyond what OHA expected, even in the worst-case scenario projected. The worst-case scenario presented in the new model assumed that transmission would rise by 5%, and Oregon would be seeing 520 newly diagnosed cases each day by November 19th. Increased numbers were expected in the past, but not this high.
Oregon’s epidemiological models, predicting the increase of rates, also serve to predict hospital capacity needs; But with cases rising exponentially, models can be outdated by the time they’re published, posing additional challenges for public health officials who want to increase needed restrictions before hospitals are full, which may be inevitable.
Oregon officials think there may still be time to slow the progression of the pandemic, but with little ICU capacity left, results need to be seen fast.
This blog post was written by Krista Pham, our intern.
The article that inspired this piece can be found, here.