Business Bit Sept 2021

Business Bits

Portland eases small business zoning requirements 

The City of Portland has temporarily suspended some zoning requirements to make it easier for entrepreneurs and small business owners to make facility improvements. 

In a July ordinance, Portland City Council took steps to allow small businesses, especially startups, to move into vacant retail and commercial spaces more quickly and with less cost. The suspensions aim to help small businesses and entrepreneurs recover from the economic impacts of the pandemic. 

Under the ordinance, retail sales and service businesses will be allowed to conduct business in parking lots they own or lease. The allowance will be in effect through March 31, 2023.

 The ordinance also waives design review, at least until April 1 of next year, for tents placed in parking lots or other outside locations, as long as the structures remain up for more than 180 days. 

The ordinance also takes into account the struggles that daycare providers and affordable housing providers have faced due to the pandemic by temporarily waiving some required upgrades for daycares, affordable housing, shelters, and retail tenant spaces for improvements valued at less than $1 million. 

The ordinance also contains elements to help home-based small businesses, including: 

• Increasing limits on the number of non-resident employees and customers who may visit a home business on a single day (through March 31, 2023); and

• Removing prohibitions, through March 31, 2023, on the presence of accessory dwelling units on sites used for home-based businesses. 
“Portland is open for business,” Commissioner Dan Ryan, the ordinance sponsor, said in a release issued by the City. “The Covid-19 pandemic has taken a tremendous toll on Portland’s economy, and we need to be nimble in our response — from allowing businesses to conduct operations in parking lots to preserving artwork on streets to expanding occupancy opportunities for home businesses, this ordinance helps businesses recover and thrive. 

According to the City, the allowances will be monitored and, if found to be effective, could be retained as future code amendments. 

Hispanic-owned wineries host fundraiser 

Hispanic-owned wineries and winemakers in Oregon take center stage on Oct. 3 to share their stories as they celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month. 

The Oct. 3 event will be held at Beacon Hill Winery & Vineyard, 22070 N.E. Ridge Road, in Gaston. Joining Beacon Hill are Alumbra Cellars, Atticus Wine, Cramoisi Vineyard, Parra Wine Co., and Valcan Cellars. Each winery will offer special wine selectIons for the celebration. 

Tickets are $50. With a focus on giving back to the Spanish-speaking community in Oregon, 10% of all ticket and bottle sales will be donated to Adelante Mujeres Empresas Small Business Development Program. 
All attendees will be required to show proof of Covid-19 full vaccination. Tickets are available online (

SCORE offers online recorded trainings 

Are you thinking about starting a food cart? Considering establishing an import/export business? Portland-area SCORE has recordings of training sessions available online. Most classes cost $10 per person. To view available recorded training topics or register for an upcoming training session, go online (

IIDA holds Design Excellence Awards 

The best interior design work in the state will take center stage on Oct. 7 during the 2021 Design Excellence Awards, hosted by the Oregon chapter of the International Interior Design Association. 

Projects will compete for Best of Category and Honorable Mention recognition in eight project categories: corporate, education, public and civic institutions, health care, hospitality, residential, maker and student work. Additional awards presented will include People’s Choice, Impact, Over-all Jurors’ Choice and Against All Odds. 

The in-person event will be held from 5:30 – 9 p.m. at Castaways Portland, 1900 N.W. 18th Ave. Tickets are $60 for IIDA members, $80 for non-members, $30 for student members, or $50 for non-member students. Registration is available online (

Weekend event focuses on food startups 

Entrepreneurs with food-focused startups will have an opportunity to share ideas and build new small business connections during Food Startup Weekend, on Oct. 22-24. 

The event is geared toward identifying innovative solutions — from tech to consumer products to agriculture — to solve issues in the food system. 

The three-day event will be held at Indy Commons, 154 S. Main St., Independence, Oregon. 
Indy Commons is a rural co-working community that provides shared workspaces, educational sessions and networking events to help entrepreneurs grow their small businesses.

The cost for the event is $25, which includes meals. Registration is available online ( 

Conference focuses on women in tech, finance 

WTF Conference returns for a third year, offering two days of sessions for women in technology, media and finance. The virtual event, held on Oct. 6 and 7, is presented by The Information, a goal publication committed to in-depth analysis of the technology industry. 

The conference will feature a roster of inspirational and informative presentations by women leaders in the technology, finance and media industries. Presenters include Rashida Jones, president of MSNBC; Dawn Ostroff, chief content officer and advertising business officer at Spotify; Amy Weaver, president and CFO of Salesforce; Kathryn Mur-och, co-founder and president of Quadrivium Foundation and co-chair of Unite America Board of Directors; Maria Zhang, vice president of engineering for Instagram; Rachel Holt, Co-founder and general partner of Construct Capital; Susan Goldsmith, principal with Deloitte Consulting; and Trier Bryant, co-found and CEO of Just Work. 

The virtual event also will include networking coffee chats, cocktail parties, group discussions, 1:1 “speed networking” sessions with other attendees, and exclusive swag. All educational sessions will be recorded and made available during and after the event.

Registration is available online (