PSU joins Here for Portland effort to support downtown businesses

Spring view of an intersection on Broadway showing pedestrians on PSU's urban campus.

Portland State employees have joined thousands of other downtown employees in the collective effort to revitalize downtown Portland by coming back to work on campus. Now they are eligible to receive one of 5,000 $50 gift cards for use at downtown businesses. 

The gift cards, available digitally through the Kuto app, can be used at one of more than 100 downtown businesses including restaurants and shops on and near PSU’s campus. The program prioritizes BIPOC owned businesses, low-income entrepreneurs and food carts.

PSU will host an event to celebrate the initiative and distribute the Kuto gift cards on campus coming up Wednesday, May 18 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Propel PSU Hall of Innovation in the Richard & Maurine Neuberger Center at 1600 SW 4th Ave. 

The initiative, Downtown Workers Are Here for Portland, is based on a successful pilot to introduce incoming students to small local businesses by issuing $50 Kuto App credits when they returned to campus last fall. Developed out of partnerships and planning from the Portland Action Tables, the organizers include the City of Portland, Worksystems, Prosper Portland, Business for a Better Portland, Portland State University, Bricks Need Mortar, Downtown Clean & Safe, and Kuto App.

“This is a win-win incentive for Portland’s workforce as they return to their offices downtown,” said Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler. “These dollars and customer relationships will make a difference to shops and restaurants that have been hardest hit during the pandemic. I want to extend a warm welcome to those returning downtown for work. Your presence is critical to the revitalization of the city.”

This initiative will deploy federal funding along with funds passed by City Council in the spring budget adjustment earlier this month, providing $250,000 and 5,000 shoppers to support struggling downtown restaurants and retailers.

Learn more about Here for Portland’s program for downtown workers, see a list of participating businesses and find an event to sign up for the Kuto gift card.