Rising rents hit small businesses

Deborah Field says five businesses near her business, Paperjam Press, have left the neighborhood because of high rents. (KATU Photo)

Deborah Field loves where she works, which is on Fremont Avenue in Northeast Portland.

She also loves where she lives. That's because her business, Paperjam Press, is right next to her house.

"So we are really about being in the neighborhood!" Field said.

But lately she's noticed a lot of change. Field says at least five small businesses have had to leave the neighborhood since she opened up seven years ago, all victims of rising rents.

"I don't like it," Field said of the change. "I'm protective of my business buddies in the neighborhood."

Field says she likely wouldn't have been able to afford the rents in this area if she wasn't lucky enough to buy her space years ago when the market wasn't nearly as hot.

"It's huge. We'd probably be paying three times what we are paying right now for our rent in this space," Field said. She went on to say she likely would be out of business if she didn't own her building.

So now she's urging city leaders to work on policies to protect other small businesses, all in an effort to preserve the charm which she says makes Portland so unique.

"We're made up of local businesses, boutiques. So when rents go up and small business owners can't afford the rent, then who's going to come in? Is it going to change the whole look of the neighborhood?"

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