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For the Business Community

Storefront Improvement Program


Before and after photos of storefront improvement projects. View full-size images and project details on Flickr.

Portland is known for its charming, authentic neighborhoods, anchored by small business. The city’s deep commitment to those small businesses and their role in neighborhood vitality is the foundation of the Storefront Improvement Program, administered by the Portland Development Commission.

PDC’s mission is to create economic growth and opportunity for Portland. In the face of increasing disparities in wealth and income, PDC is committed to helping all of Portland’s residents thrive. Accordingly, the agency prioritizes its project funding and investments by geography-specific strategies and community-defined needs.

PDC uses grants and loans to support the implementation of our strategic objectives as outlined in the City of Portland’s Economic Development Strategy, Neighborhood Economic Development (NED) Strategy and geography-specific plans like the Old Town/Chinatown Action Plan and the Lents Five-Year Action Plan. The level of grant funding available differs by area based on budget availability and community-defined priorities.

In order to meet job creation, neighborhood vitality and economic opportunity objectives with limited resources, priorities will vary depending on where your property/business is located.

The storefront grants began in 1989 and were available only for property owners in Old Town. In 1994, the program expanded to businesses along Northeast Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard; today storefront grants are awarded in eight of the city's 11 urban renewal districts.

In the last five years (July 1, 2009 - June 30, 2014), the program has made a total of 539 grants totaling $8.7 million. The before and after pictures tell the story: a new awning, paint or doors can be a major transformation.

The program provides cash grants and technical assistance to business and property owners in eligible neighborhoods. Recipients can use the support for a variety of improvements, from repainting and signage to purchase of new windows and awnings. For the past twenty years, the program has re-established pride in some of Portland's oldest and best-loved neighborhoods, by helping new and established businesses attract customers; leveraging private investment from current owners and inspiring improvements to neighboring buildings; and enhancing the appearance and charm of commercial areas while building a safer street environment.

Target Areas

You can quickly determine whether your property qualifies for Storefront Improvement Program benefits by searching for a specific address on PortlandMaps.com. Map your property >

The Grant Percentage varies for different areas. Please contact the Project Manager for grant amount for a particular property.

Storefront Target Area  Area Map Storefront Target Area  Area Map
Central Eastside View Map River District View map
Downtown Retail Core View map Gateway Regional Center View map
Old Town Chinatown Neighborhood View map Interstate Corridor* View map
Oregon Convention Center View map Lents Town Center View map

Who can apply for a grant?

Applications for a PDC grant program may be submitted by a business owner, organization or property owner. Grants will not be given to a business owner or organization without the consent of the property owner. PDC strongly encourages business owners, organizations and property owners to work collaboratively on the application.

How do I get a grant?

Please contact one of our staff (see PDC Contacts, below) to discuss your project. The process will start with this conversation and a pre-application to determine alignment with the applicable strategy and overall eligibility for PDC grants.