But downtown Portland business owners say they are facing unique challenges as they try to recover from the economic devastation brought on by the pandemic. Many point to the raucous protests downtown and the controversial federal response, which have put the city atop national headlines.
While most of downtown is tranquil, and nearly all confrontations between protestors and police take place late at night, the nightly protests have given Portland a reputation for upheaval that businesses say is keeping shoppers away.
Office buildings remain empty because of the pandemic and tourists have yet to return, taking away a large customer base for many downtown businesses. More tents have appeared along the sidewalks near downtown as the city has limited cleanups of homeless camps due to the pandemic.
Those factors have limited foot traffic in downtown. TriMet says trips downtown are down more than 75% this summer compared to last year. Parking meter transactions are down a similar amount, and traffic into downtown across the Morrison Bridge has fallen 43% compared to last year, according to the Portland Bureau of Transportation.
The decline in hotel occupancy in the central city is the worst in the state, down 73% compared to last year, according to data provided by Travel Portland.
My subject line is taken from RCP: Downtown Portland Businesses in Death Spiral, and it seems to fit the bill.
Here's one weird thing about America--you vote for your local government. The people of Portland voted for Ted Wheeler. It's a bit like: Play stupid games, win stupid prizes.
The good news for the people of Portland is that they get a re-do. They get a chance to show that they're capable of learning from experience. It's up to them.
Meanwhile, the City of Portland is threatening the Feds with legal action to force them to remove the protective fences around the Federal Building.