Portland’s Multnomah County lost $1 BILLION from 2020-2021, as high earners left city amid riots, pandemic

Many who left were high earners that could do jobs remotely.

Multnomah County lost over $1 billion in income as high earners fled the area during the lockdowns, riots, and spikes in crime in the first year of the pandemic, according to a new report.

According to an analysis of data from the Internal Revenue Service by The Oregonian from income tax returns filed in 2020 and 2021, Multnomah County lost a net 14,257 tax filers and their dependents, many of whom were high earners who could do jobs remotely, resulting in a net income loss of over $1 billion.

The outlet reported that the average income of those who left in 2020, the most recent year available, was 14 percent higher than those who moved the previous year, yet the average income of those who remained in or moved to the county declined during the same time frame.

The outlet’s analysis of the IRS data is similar to the most recent Census Bureau estimates, which revealed that Multnomah County had the largest population decline out of any county in Oregon.

The county’s largest city, Portland, saw an exodus during the time frame which has continued causing The Rose City to be one of the fastest declining large cities in 2022, according to The Oregonian. The city has also grappled with record-breaking homicides. The problem is exacerbated by the fact Portland police lack resources to follow up on investigations and property crimes.

Making matters worse was a revelation in 2022 that District Attorney Mike Schmidt is prosecuting less than half of all misdemeanor theft cases referred to his office by police.

According to the analysis, many who left Multnomah County in 2020 and 2021 moved to nearby suburbs, while some went out of state to places such as Spartanburg County in South Carolina, Kitsap County in Washington, and liberal strongholds such as Travis County in Texas, which contains Austin, as well as San Francisco.

The high earners typically moved to areas with more space or other urban areas, while those with lower incomes usually stayed in Oregon, but moved to more affordable counties.

The Oregonian noted that in the state, deaths outnumber births. That combined with the loss of income could result in cuts in government spending due to budget shortfalls as the state is heavily reliant on the high earners as a source of revenue due to Oregon’s personal income tax.
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