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Tough times need special action

President's View • Tribune offers program to help

Yes, economic times do remain tough. While the stock market has sustained a modest rebound, the economies of Oregon, the nation and the world still suffer. Our state is second in the nation in unemployment, as too many friends, family members and co-workers have lost their jobs.

In Portland, we have witnessed the closure of many large and small businesses. At the same time, funding for public education and many social service programs are being cut, with more planned reductions expected in the next few weeks.

In the past year, non-profit organizations that exist to help those in need have been almost overwhelmed. The Oregon Food Bank, for example, has seen a 16 percent increase in requests for food assistance and as many as 50 percent of those seeking assistance are doing so for the first time.

We think it's time for change. And we believe that working together we all can make a difference.

For the past eight years, the Portland Tribune has worked hard to help our community remain healthy, livable and economically sound. For the past three decades, this has been the same commitment of Community Newspapers, the Tribune's sister group of newspapers that serves Portland's suburban and neighborhood communities.

As a business, we have worked in partnership with individuals, businesses and local governments to provide for a better community.

It was that tradition that prompted us in February to launch our Community Partners Program to help local business promote their goods and services during a time of recession. This program offered a 50 percent discount on newspaper advertising. Over the past few months, the Community Partners Program aided hundreds of local businesses across the region, allowing them to remain vital and promote themselves.

Today, I am pleased to announce an expansion of our Community Partners Program.

Working in partnership with the Oregon Food Bank and local chambers of commerce, through August we are offering a 40 percent discount of advertising in the Tribune and any of our weekly community newspapers … and we will make an additional 10 percent donation in the name of the participating businesses to the Oregon Food Bank to help combat hunger in our communities.

Our goals are simple but very important: help our local economy remain vital in difficult economic times and raise $50,000 to help feed the hungry.

Why are we doing this?

We believe that in tough times like these, it is up to each of us to look out for - and assist - others.

We think that helping to feed the hungry, particularly those who have lost their jobs or had family members or their parents lose their jobs, is an immediate and important way to make a difference. For every $1 that is contributed to the Oregon Food Bank, five pounds of food are gathered and distributed to those in need in Portland and neighboring communities.

Meanwhile, we feel that it's time to jump start and sustain the renewed vitality of the economy in the Portland area. Profitable businesses - large and small - are an essential part of healthy communities and they are key components of our collective safety net, by providing jobs, taxes and community support. Yet to thrive, businesses need to promote themselves and attract customers.

We believe our expanded Community Partners Program will give local residents and businesses confidence that together we can succeed, even in tough times.

This is our community. Together, we can make a difference.

Steve Clark is the president and publisher of the Portland Tribune