"There is no one who has done more for Atlanta," said former Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young.
As a founding member of Atlanta’s Action Forum, Portman, along with other like-minded business leaders, black and white, quietly used their wits and influence to ensure that Atlanta remained "a city too busy to hate" by successfully dealing with issues that divided other cities. His strong social views resulted in meaningful action in the local community conducted without fanfare but proved to be impactful. The two restaurants within the Atlanta Merchandise Mart when it opened in 1961 were Atlanta’s first integrated restaurants. Likewise, the Hyatt Regency Atlanta was fully integrated from its opening in 1967. Portman included a kosher kitchen when he developed the Westin Peachtree Plaza when it opened in 1976, making it the first public venue in the City that could properly serve kosher meals.
Portman’s role in the international community in Atlanta was also very strong. He was a founding member of the World Trade Center in Atlanta. He was knighted by the King of Belgium and the Queen of Denmark, and served as the Honorary Consul of Denmark for 30 years.