Introducing the Portland Independent Chamber of Commerce

Last month something surprising happened: I used the internet to help my community achieve a goal. The formula was pretty simple:

  1. I wrote about a project that preserves the stories of the African-American community, why this matters in the larger story of Portland’s gentrification, and what people could do to help.
  2. I tweeted it. People retweeted it.
  3. This exposure helped to successfully fund the project.

Plain English + community clear call to action = success

I learned two things. First, I discovered that one of the best ways to counter hashtag-propagating “slactivism” is to give readers a concrete job to be done within local, trusted networks.

Second: many people who brought exposure to the campaign worked in business and technology. This was evidence that commerce and community are not opposing ideas. In fact, they are complementary, and deserve to coexist.

At its best, social media is a barn raising, not a bullhorn.

Today we are announcing the Portland Independent Chamber of Commerce (PICOC). PICOC (pronounced “peacock”) is a group of civically minded founders, investors, and community leaders who believe that by drawing attention to important issues, and providing a clear call to action, we can make a difference in shaping the future of our city.

We are not disruptors of civil society. We are stewards.

For the next ten months we will draw attention to issues that impact the future of our city, issues like affordable housing, sustainable transportation, inclusive and diverse employment opportunities, homelessness, and education. Our guest authors will explain why each issue matters and offer a concrete call to action that can be met within a single month. Sometimes it might be funding scholarships or a campaign. Other times it might be showing up at a meeting, or signing a petition. Whatever the issue, we’ll raise it with potential solutions on offer.

We will leverage all available media outlets to effect change in this city we love — that’s something we’ll need your help with, too. Most importantly, we want to be held accountable. At the end of the year, we’ll let you know what we accomplished and what remains to be done.

If you’d like to be involved sign up for our mailing list to be notified of each month’s call to action. Together we can live up to our state’s motto: she flies with her own wings.

In solidarity,
Mara Zepeda, Switchboard

Steering Committee
Crystal Beasley, Qcut
Greg Borenstein
Lennon Day-Reynolds
Marcus Estes, Chroma
Matt Haughey, Metafilter
William Henderson, Ride Report
Darius Kazemi, Feel Train
Andy McMillan, XOXO
Alex Payne
Vidya Spandana, Popily

(If you are in Portland and would like to be listed as a supporter please email us:

Julia Alena
Danielle Alexander
Marcelino Alvarez, Uncorked Studios
Tom Anchor
Stacy Atwell
Juan Barraza
Peat Bakke
Elly Blue, Microcosm Publishing
Rowan Bradley, Gript
Aja Bogdanoff, Civil
Steve Bozzone, Bozz Media
Dylan Boyd, R/GA Ventures
Darren Buckner, WorkFrom
Paige Hendrix Buckner, Client Joy
Josh Carter
Amy Compton
Boughty Canton
Amber Case
Ryan Carson, Treehouse
Suzi Carter, City Club of Portland
Julian Chadwick, PDX Pipeline
Sean Danaher
Bob Davis
Frank D’Andrea
Jim D’Angelo, Funclobile
Andrew DeVigal, University of Oregon’s Agora Journalism Center
Frank D’Andrea
Aixe Djelal, Bicycle Head
Garrett Downen
Audrey Eschright, Recompiler Media
Glenn Fee, Gateway to College
Kirby Ferguson, Everything is a Remix
Diane Fraiman, Voyager Capital
Adron Hall
Troy Howard
Kristen Gallagher, Edify
Stephen Gelhen, Brandlive
Jason Glaspey
Katherine Gray
Stephen Green, Elevate Capital
Jason Grlicky
Kendall Guillemette
Amit Gupta
Scott Hanselman
Chris Harder, Portland Development Commission
Dan Hon
Jack Hott, Poached
Eric Holscher, Read the Docs
Shashi Jain
Tony Jordan
Luke Kanies, Puppet Labs
James Keller
Jared Kennedy, Outdoor Project
Nancy King
Parker Lee
Genevieve LeMarchal, Sadie
Laura LoForti, Vanport Mosaic
Joseph Lyons
Heber Michaels
Shelley Midthun, Oregon Story Board
Carol Miller, Bright Horizons
Nathan Miller, Authentic Electric
Jewel Minarek, WorkFrom
Jeff Martens
Ben Matasar
Jenny Moede, Citizen
Martin Montero
Alex Nelson, Craft3
Catherine Nikolovski, HackOregon
Leslie Poston
Emee Pumarega, EJP Events
Terry St. Marie, Built Oregon
Natalie Sept
Ryan Snyder, Foodgeeks
Kevin Steigerwald, Notion
Josh Reich, Simple
Christopher Richards, Startup Grind Portland
Paul Searle, Searle Video
Katrina Scotto di Carlo, Placemaker
Cabel Sasser, Panic
Astrid Scholz, Sphera
Robin Stevens
Yu Te, MacPCX
Justin Thiele
Rick Turoczy, Silicon Florist
Lev Tsypin, ThinkShout
Cameron Whitten, Know Your City
Mark Wheeler
Stephanie Vardavas
JP Voilleque, Immix Law
Jared Weiner, Portland Development Commission
Charlie Wicker, Trailhead Coffee Roasters
Kristin Wolff



Business For A Better Portland issues a call-to-action every month.

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