News Release|

This fall, more than 25,000 Portland State University (PSU) students will return to the city’s downtown area. As students make their way back on campus, the school year marks the single largest reopening in downtown Portland since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Developed out of partnerships and planning from the Portland Action Tables – a group of more than 200 community members dedicated to championing Portland’s future – Here for Portland, Downtown is a new initiative bolstered by the City of Portland, Worksystems, Portland State University, Prosper Portland, Bricks Need Mortar, Business for a Better Portland and Kuto App to promote intentional shopping, dining and working among PSU students as they return to Portland.

Here for Portland, Downtown Initiative Featured in the Oregonian!

Worksystems will provide $30,000 through a business assistance grant from the US Department of Labor to issue $50 Kuto app gift credits to 600 PSU students. Students’ Kuto app credits can be used for making purchases from participating businesses as well as for tipping frontline workers. The initiative will introduce students to local restaurants and retail businesses whose livelihoods and workforces have been hit hard by the pandemic, including local businesses owned by low-income entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs of color.

Worksystems will also provide $240,000 in funding for subsidized jobs provided through the City’s American Recovery Program Act (ARPA) program to connect up to 30 incoming PSU students who are looking for work and want to support the recovery of local downtown restaurant and retail businesses. Participating businesses will be connected with a PSU student employee who will be paid and employed through the program. The student workers will provide some much needed assistance as these businesses recover from the pandemic and the extraordinary costs of operating under the social distancing restrictions that have been protecting our community.

Following the Here for Portland, Downtown pilot project, this effort will expand to serve additional Portland business districts in collaboration with Prosper Portland and other Portland Action Table partners. The program may also expand into Washington County.

THANK YOU to all the partners on this project!

  • Mayor Ted Wheeler
  • Portland State University
  • Here for Portland
  • Prosper Portland
  • Bricks Need Mortar
  • Business for a Better Portland
  • Kuto App
  • IRCO

The Kuto app was developed by local Portland software developer Kubo and saves users money on credit card fees that banks charge retailers, encourages local shopping and saves both retailers and customers time. 

For more information on the work of the Portland Action Tables to revitalize the city of Portland, please visit

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