City News

Posted on: September 12, 2017

Portland One of 25 Communities Selected for Gateways for Growth Challenge Award

Portland Welcomes You

The City of Portland is one of 25 communities chosen by the New American Economy and Welcoming America to receive the Gateways for Growth award, which helps local governments, businesses, and civic leaders develop concrete strategies to integrate immigrants and foster economic growth. 


Launched in December 2015, the Gateways for Growth Challenge is a competitive opportunity for local communities to receive direct technical assistance from New American Economy and Welcoming America to develop multi-sector plans for welcoming and integrating immigrants. New American Economy also provides tailored research on the contributions of immigrants and 


“Portland has all the ingredients needed to thrive and put forth an ambitious immigrant integration agenda that is participatory, inspirational, meaningful, diverse and quantifiable - an agenda that strives for excellence and optimizes every pathway so that the region can grow and where all Portlanders can thrive,” said Julia Trujillo Luengo, the City’s Director of the Office of Economic Opportunity. “With the Gateways for Growth support, we are confident we can transform our city, our region, and the lives of so many.” 


“Portland is changing, and what is really exciting is to see how the growing community of new Portlanders is adding vibrancy not just to the city, but to the business community as well. We here at the Chamber have sought to be more inclusive and reflective of the Portland around us, and moving forward, a big part of our community, and the Chamber, will feature new Portlanders,” said Quincy Hentzel, CEO of the Portland Regional Chamber of Commerce. “Initiatives aimed at making the business community more inclusive and representative of our community will only strengthen our business case as we move forward.”


“While Congress debates the value of immigration, in city after city, the evidence is already in—immigrants revive neighborhoods and drive economic growth,” said John Feinblatt, President of New American Economy. “The Gateways for Growth Challenge offers local leaders blueprints for attracting immigrant talent and jump-starting their economies.”


“These communities are leaders in the broader and growing trend to be more inclusive, offering an alternative to the divisive rhetoric around immigration and showing how inclusion is good for our economy, neighborhoods, and future,” said David Lubell, Executive Director of Welcoming America. “Inclusive economic growth strategies that take into account both U.S. and foreign-born communities make cities more vibrant, attractive places for all residents.”


Following a rigorous application process, the following 25 communities were selected:

  • Alexandria, VA 
  • Austin, MN 
  • Boise, ID/Ada County, ID 
  • Bowling Green, KY 
  • Champaign-Urbana, IL 
  • Chicago, IL 
  • Corpus Christi, TX 
  • Dallas, TX 
  • Dane County, WI 
  • Des Moines, IA
  • Fort Wayne, IN 
  • Grand Forks, ND 
  • Grand Rapids, MI 
  • Harrisonburg, VA/Rockingham County, VA 
  • Lancaster, PA 
  • Little Rock, AR 
  • Long Beach, CA 
  • Memphis, TN 
  • Missoula, MT 
  • Northwest Arkansas 
  • Portland, ME 
  • San Diego, CA 
  • Siouxland, IA/NE/SD 
  • South Bend, IN 
  • Tulsa, OK 

This year, the Gateways for Growth Challenge will again offer resources to communities that demonstrate a public-private commitment to the development of a community-wide strategic plan. Those resources include:

  • Customized quantitative research reports from NAE on the demographic and economic contributions immigrants their communities;
  • On-the-ground technical assistance from NAE and Welcoming America to help communities draft, execute, and communicate a multi-sector immigrant integration strategy; and
  • Planning grants from NAE that local partners have committed to match.


NAE and Welcoming America also maintain an interactive map outlining initiatives across the United States that support immigrant and U.S.-born entrepreneurs, promote citizenship and financial empowerment, improve public safety and access to services, and advance education and workforce goals to help regions compete in the global economy. The map provides detailed information about and examples from the communities that have embraced this work, as well as guidance for those seeking to replicate successful programs and policies. 

Office of Economic Opportunity
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