More businesses announce they’re leaving downtown Portland

Published: Aug. 9, 2022 at 10:12 PM PDT
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PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) - Two businesses who’ve called downtown Portland home for years said they’ve left or are planning to leave the core of the Rose City.

Jason Leivian, owner of Floating World Comics, packed up his store on Northwest 4th Avenue and Couch Street and moved across the Willamette River to the Lloyd Center. After 16 years in Old Town, Leivian said he made the decision to move out after two years of downturn in downtown.

“Being downtown was a big part of the identity of the store,” Leivian said. “I loved the first Thursday art shows that would happen there.”

Leivian watched violent crime increase on his block since 2020, but that’s not the main reason for moving. He said the lack of foot traffic in the area is what’s holding him and his business back. Even post-pandemic, he said people aren’t returning to their offices in downtown Portland. Fewer people in offices, means fewer people walking the streets, possibly stopping by his store to shop.

“I don’t think it’s coming back anytime soon, maybe in a couple of years or so,” Leivian said. “But who knows? I waited two years and this is where we’re at now.”

Leivian said he choose the Lloyd Center because he sees potential in the mall, especially under new ownership. He described his new storefront as reigniting the energy and passion to do what he loves.

“Moving here, the spirit feels like when I started the store, rent is affordable here,” Leivian said. “There’s a lot of space here.”

While Leivian takes his business to the Lloyd Center, another company announced they’re leaving downtown Portland. Unitus Community Credit Union announced this week they will be moving their headquarters out of the city, splitting it up into multiple locations, with one in Tigard. However, the credit union’s reasoning for leaving is different than Leivian’s. The company said they want to help support remote, hybrid, and in-office employees.

CEO Steven Stapp said this in a press release:

“This new operational model allows Unitus to create an activity-based working environment, where employees can work out of different types of spaces over the course of a day or week. This gives employees the ability to choose how they work best.”

As businesses continue to leave downtown Portland, Leivian said he can’t look at the past but only look toward the future. For him, the future is in the Lloyd Center.

“If I’m successful then the mall will be more successful, then if the mall’s successful then all the shops will be more successful,” Leivian said.

His new store will have a soft opening on Aug. 19