Outdoor retailer REI closing sole Portland store amid rampant theft

The store “had its highest number of break-ins and thefts in two decades, despite actions to provide extra security”


In an email to its members on Monday REI Co-op announced it will be closing its store in Portland’s Pearl District. The outdoor retail chain cited “crime and theft” as the reason. 

In an emailed announcement they said that the store “had its highest number of break-ins and thefts in two decades, despite actions to provide extra security.” 

According to Oregon Live, the Pearl District store has been open for almost 20 years. It moved to the location in 2004 from its original location in Jantzen Beach which opened in 1976. 

A spokesperson said, “While we do not believe a downtown Portland location will be possible in the near term, our stores in Tualatin, Hillsboro and Clackamas remain open and ready to outfit you with the gear and advice you need to enjoy life outside.”

Last November it was reported that the store would be increasing security following a string of three break-ins in one week. The last of the three took place on Black Friday, when a car crashed through the glass front doors in an apparent “smash and grab” robbery. 

No one was inside the store on the busy shopping day because the retailer closes their doors on Black Friday to allow their employees the day to “Opt Outside.” 

This closure comes as other large retailers try to address the rampant theft happening in the Oregon city. Last month, Walmart made the move to close all of its stores in Portland on March 24th. All 379 employees are to be terminated by June 2nd. 

In February, a Nike store sent a letter to Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler in an attempt to get protection for their MLK Community Store. Nike chief security officer Joe Marsico said at the time the store was closed “in response to deteriorating public safety conditions and rapid escalation in retail theft.”

Oregon Legislators have two Senate bills, 318 and 340, that they are considering in an attempt to crack down on the theft.  

Oregon Live noted that the REI store is expected to close in early 2024 as the lease expires in February. 


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