Portland bleeds population amid massive crime surge

"It’s like Portland died.”


Portland, Oregon has suffered massive population loss since 2020. According to Census data, the city lost the sixth-most number of people of any city in the US last year, losing 8,308 people from July 1, 2021, to July 1, 2022. 

The decline comes after the city saw 15 straight years of growth before the Covid-19 pandemic and amid a massive crime wave since the city became the epicenter of the 2020 Black Lives Matter (BLM) riots. In the summer of 2020, Portland saw over 100 days of consecutive rioting.

A Portland resident of 15 years told local news station KPTV, "I know it’s been really tough for a lot of people through the pandemic. It’s been hard to see Portland at the forefront of some of those tensions.”

"It’s like Portland died,” another resident Larry May said. "The tourists haven’t come back like they used to be. Especially the Japanese, they love this city.”

"The crime is really bad, shootings," he continued, "It's not the Portland I knew." 

State of the Economy report by Portland Business Alliance stated, "If trends continue, the economic outlook, especially for the City of Portland, is as concerning as any time since the twin recessions of the 1980s." It continued, "Newly released census data suggests the region can no longer take net in-migration for granted—as it has for most of its history." 

"People and businesses vote with their feet, and they are not voting for Portland, the city or the region, in the way they have in the recent past. The persistence of that trend could lead to a stagnant and underproductive economic future for our region," the report concluded. 

study released in August revealed that was the fourth lowest-rated city in terms of foot traffic in its downtown areas. In a poll at the same time, respondents said they avoid the downtown area due to high rates of homelessness, trash and graffiti, vandalism, property crime, and violent crime. 

Portland has also seen businesses leave the downtown area in droves due to vandalism and rampant theft. On Thursday, the iconic Exiled Records store closed its SE Hawthorne location after 15 years in business after a third break in at the store.  Police ignored calls from the alarm company while the shop was being robbed.

97 percent of restaurant owners said that they didn't think the city was heading in the right direction, in a recent survey, with 73 percent saying they don't feel the city's police bureau is supporting them. 

Portland is among the top cities that have seen record crime rates since the "defund the police" movement that followed the 2020 BLM Riots. 

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