Portland Residents Won’t Visit Riot-Ravaged, ‘Trashed’ And ‘Sad’ Downtown


Portland, Oregon, residents are increasingly wary of the city’s downtown area, following a sharp spike in violence, a nearly year-long campaign of rioting, and a growing homelessness problem, according to a poll taken by The Oregonian.

Portland’s downtown and, in some cases, its residential areas, have been home to ongoing, often violent demonstrations for nearly a year, since George Floyd died while in the custody of the Minneapolis Police Department. What began as an anti-police brutality and anti-racism protest, however, has since grown into a multi-faceted, destructive force that is driving residents away from the city.“Residents in the metro area surrounding Portland, Oregon, say the city’s downtown is dirty, unsafe, and uninviting, and they don’t expect to visit as often,” The New York Post reported Sunday, citing The Oregonian’s poll.  “Residents described the city’s core as ‘destroyed,’ ‘trashed,’ and ‘sad,’ and frequently referred to ‘riots’ in discussing the city’s economic and cultural hub.”

“In the poll, 85 percent said downtown was important, or very important, to the city’s economy. More than 100,000 people worked there prior to the pandemic, about 1 in every 20 jobs in the state,” the outlet added. “While 63 percent of respondents said they see downtown as less safe, 86 percent said they feel safe in their own neighborhoods. The main issues they cited were cleanliness and crime.”

The riots in Portland have been going on since last May. When the new presidential administration failed to abate the violence, however, Portland city officials finally began cracking down on the ongoing unrest. The move may have come too late; as recently as last week, suspected anarchist groups in Portland were threatening a major wave of destruction unless the city’s mayor, Ted Wheeler, resigns.The FBI is also reportedly involved because gun violence in the city has “gone beyond a public safety crisis,” according to local media.

“With news of an ‘imminent’ threat of gun violence in Portland, Police Chief Chuck Lovell, and an FBI official spoke about violence reduction efforts during a media briefing on Saturday,” KOIN reported. “The Portland City Council announced police and the FBI will be on the streets of the city for the next few days, citing intelligence that there are ‘imminent’ efforts from outside groups to ‘engage and advance gun violence’ this weekend. PPB Chief Lovell joined Oregon FBI Special Agent in Charge Keiran Ramsey on Saturday to discuss what authorities are doing to mitigate the violence permeating the city.”

A majority of those who answered The Oregonian’s poll — 55% — said that fewer protests would make the city “more appealing,” per the Post. The results also seemed to indicate that residents would return to downtown if the city got a handle on homelessness, which has expanded in public areas since the beginning of the pandemic because “city officials did not clear campsites or move homeless people to shelters for fear of exposing them to COVID-19.”

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