A while back I summarized a number of things going the wrong direction for Portland/Oregon. The problems have not stopped; and continue to get worse in many cases.
Portland and Oregon residents moving away
- According to the US Census bureau, Portland has gone from one of that fastest, hippest growing cities in the country to the 6th fastest shrinking major city in the country despite its relatively small size. It’s a worse rate than Detroit.
- Portland, and Oregon as a whole, saw it’s population decrease in 2023
- Portland population declined also in 2022 – For the 3rd year in a row, net migration for Portland is negative. Meaning more people have left the city in total than have moved in. The total city population is shrinking and this is causing demographers and politicians to start sounding alarm bells.
- A recent study in late 2023 show this net population shrinkage of over 18,000 people since the pandemic has now become a disturbing long-term trend. A trend that is unique to Portland as many other urban areas around the country and NW region are growing. This will likely have heavy implications on government services, jobs, and is general economic decline. It is causing economists alarm as legislators scramble for answers (answers that are likely painfully obvious – such as nearly the highest tax rate in the country, increasing violent and property crime, high homelessness, and terrible local and state leadership).
- Oregon state is also seeing a net population decrease.
- Oregon is one of only 17 states to see declining household incomes in 2022, U.S. Census Bureau data shows. According to the U.S. Census Bureau data, Oregon saw a 2.2% drop in median household income in 2022 — the only Western state to see a decline during the same period. However, Oregon State Economist Josh Lehner told KOIN 6 News that Oregon’s income actually rose in 2022, just not as fast as inflation.
- Portland continues to be one of the 5 ‘least post-pandemic recovered’ US cities
- A flood of Portlanders are leaving town for the suburbs. “Rents in Portland’s suburbs are up 23% since 2020, compared with about 2% in the center city.” In sum, we have undeniable evidence that a mass movement of once-cosmopolitan renters have fled Portland’s urban core for the suburbs.”
Business closures grow worse in 2023
- REI has announced it is closing it’s downtown flagship store due to crime and security issues. Despite working with city officials to fix issues, it gave up after nothing was done and it is experiencing it’s highest number of break-ins and thefts in 20 years.
- Walmart and Green Zebra grocery have closed their stores in Portland due to safety and theft issues.
- Target announced it is now closing all it’s Portland stores citing customer safety, theft, and organized crime. Even after many promises and direct interaction with the mayor’s office, things got even worse. After being a full service store, they closed multiple floors to just be a single ground floor shopping area. Now they have even given up on that. Target was often the recipient of multiple attacks by antifa during the 2020 riots: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Qf7QuYpATI&ab_channel=KOIN6
- Restaurant closures, brewpub closures, and business closures are continuing and accelerating in 2023
- 25 downtown businesses, including some of the hippest places (Ace Hotel, Multnomah Whiskey Library, Courier Coffee) have written a strongly worded and heart-wrenching letter to the city to immediately address the wave of crime and the resultant lack of foot traffic.
Continued Drug legalization deaths and issues:
- New York Times has openly called Oregon drug legalization a disaster. The Atlantic and other news outlets have also equally called the policy a complete failure
- Measure 110 that legalized drugs hasn’t saved any lives. Drug overdose deaths have increased in Portland/Oregon at almost identical rates as 13 other states indicating that the policy argument of harm reduction has been proven incorrect.
- Overdose deaths continue to accelerate in 2023. Portland hit 516 overdose fatalities by October 2023, which means the city has already exceeded the number of overdose deaths for all of 2022
- Hotel booking recovery has stalled and now starting to decline again. https://www.oregonlive.com/business/2023/09/portlands-hotel-rebound-stalls-industry-is-in-crisis.html
- Metro Budget oversight committee says there isn’t any oversight of homeless funds due to county leadership refusing to talking with them: https://www.kgw.com/article/news/local/the-story/multnomah-county-joint-office-homeless-spending-budget-oversight-board-chair/283-c21def7e-fa34-4736-b694-e4541325f682
- Metro homeless service has over $100 million dollars of homeless funds collected from a huge new tax – yet most of it is unspent, nor is the there a plan even though the taxes are still being collected: https://www.kgw.com/article/news/local/homeless/we-have-so-much-money-multnomah-county-has-more-than-100-million-for-homeless-services-that-it-has-yet-to-spend/283-7a7b350b-0789-4e88-a6d6-1ac73cbd9c45
- 72 unit Argyle Gardens built for $12 million and lauded as a model for housing low-income has in just 3 years degenerated to tenants reporting filthy conditions, assault, rampant theft, squatters, and unresponsive management that has led at least one resident to flee for safety, while others have gone back to homeless shelters.
- Many of our efforts have been huge wastes of money. Public toilets were put out and cost $75,000/month but were all gone 3 years later when they turned into port-a-drug labs/burned down/stolen/etc: https://www.kgw.com/article/news/investigations/portland-public-toilets-portable-what-happened/283-ff025241-95ea-4126-ab70-d62652273998
- Portland quickly reversed course when it became public they were spending $80,000 on free foil, straws, and snorting kits – even though straws are banned in Oregon: https://katu.com/news/local/multnomah-county-suspends-plan-to-distribute-tin-foil-straws-to-drug-users-in-portland-area
- Washington county unanimously waved a law that banned a new methadone clinic within 1000 feet of a school.
- Homeless camps with open drug use are right across the street and along main school approaches – prompting the Mayor to ban those camps; but little has been done and it usually takes weeks to address issues.
- “A [homeless] camp took over the parking lot last summer where I teach. Two families left the school due to feeling unsafe. One day a mom messaged me they were late because they couldn’t get out of their car. A female camper had her pants down and was peeing next to their car. Then was doing the dope nod with her pants down. Took six months to clear the camp even though they were violating the rule about proximity to a school.”
Education systems failing at record-setting pace and increasingly exposed mismanagement
- Even before Covid, 1 in 3 Oregon schools rank in the bottom quarter nationally.
- Oregon schools have seen a 17% decline in elementary school enrollment (10 schools worth of children) and an overall decline of 7.5% for the entire school system.
- Portland teachers union strike led by pro-Palestine activist leadership (to the dismay of it’s Jewish members and grossly misread the room) – has turned out not to have done even their most basic homework before a very damaging strike – and were completely wrong about available funding the union leaders demanded; then backed down from when they realized it wasn’t even close to realistic.
- Portland Public Schools is now cutting 10’s of millions due to budget cuts – as was communicated to the public during the strike. But that didn’t stop pro-union groups from rabidly defending the false narrative of their union leaders.
- It’s come out that the Portland Public Schools communication team costs as much as running an entire school.
- Oregon’s severe and chronic school attendance problem grew even worse last year –
- Violence in Portland and Oregon schools has gotten much worse.
- Reynolds Middle School shut down in-person classes for 3 weeks to address out of control student behavior
- All 15 PPS middle school principles are begging for help with serious behavioral crisis after grades 6-8 had more disciplinary incidents by March 2023 than the entire 2021-2022 school year.
- Ex: Seventh grader at Beaumont Middle School in Northeast Portland described feeling terrified after a classmate held a boxcutter to her neck and threatened to slit her throat during school hours several weeks ago. Her classmate was suspended for a few weeks, but is now back at school without supervision, she told members of the Portland school board on Tuesday, adding that she’s experiencing regular panic attacks as a result.
- Despite these issues, the school system is doubling down on the policy of reducing suspensions in favor of ‘rapid response’
- I previously mentioned that Oregon removed the requirement students demonstrate they can read or do basic mathematics to get a high school diploma in 2020 as a move to fight racism. This was just unanimously extended through the 2029 by the Oregon State Board of Education.
- Best quote I heard about this policy: “You know what’s more harmful to students of color? Not being able to read or write”
- Another called it “the soft bigotry of low expectations”
- Doubling down on the effort, PPS is considering something they call ‘equitable grading system’ in which a teacher assesses a student’s work considering their diversity and background needs to promote fairness
- Critics have said that this doesn’t fight racism, instead it’s a quiet racism of lowering standards instead of addressing the actual educational needs of underprivileged students.
Masked Disruptive Protests and Attacks Haven’t Stopped
Portland got a reputation for some of the most violent and destructive riots in 2020; and it’s not that protests have stopped. They largely just changed topics – and are now increasingly attacking public leaders homes including arson attacks.
Just in the last 2 months (Nov 2023 to Jan 2024) we’ve had a list of blocked roads, bridges, and the airport
- Anti-Israel protesters block I-405 for several hours
- Anti-Israel protesters protest outside a Boeing factory
- Anti-Israel protesters block Burnside bridge
- Anti-Israel protesters disrupt the Christmas tree lighting in Portland
- Anti-Israel protesters block access to the Portland Airport for several hours
- Sit in at a justice hearing in Jan 2024
Attacks on religious buildings and members
Increasing targeted attacks on religious institutions/displays of all faith backgrounds by Antifa and other protest groups:
- Window display of beloved local shop celebrating Jewish, Christian and Islamic beliefs destroyed
- Churches are increasingly being attacked and vandalized by left wing extremist groups (Catholic, Homeless shelter, Catholic church)
- Jewish Synagogues as well
- Pregnancy resource centers in Oregon have been the target of so many arson attacks the FBI is now investigating. Second link.