Report: Downtown Portland economy has long road to recovery

Published: Feb. 21, 2023 at 6:17 PM PST
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PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) - On Tuesday, the Portland Business Alliance released its State of the Economy and State of Downtown reports.

Overall, the reports found a regional positive trend,  but those at the Portland Business Alliance say, the Central City still needs a lot of help.

The report found the largest areas of job growth in the Metro Area were in construction, and leisure and hospitality.

But the report also found just under 13,000 people moved out of Multnomah County last year. This statistic is alarming for Portland Business Alliance president, Andrew Hoan.

“Multnomah county continues to shed household, so families are making decisions to relocate to other places,” said Hoan. “They’re looking at their bills, they’re looking at the cost of living, as well as the challenges we’re facing with our quality of life here.”

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Hoan says based on this year’s findings,  this large number of people moving out of Multnomah County speeding up job creation away from Portland’s City Center in areas like Clark County. The report also found  in 2022, there were about 65% fewer people working in Downtown Portland than pre-pandemic levels, and over 8 million square feet in vacant office building space.  More empty office buildings, according to Hoan, will cause less revenue to go into Portland and Multnomah county’s budgets, which could have consequences.

“That means resources going to our government to provide the services that we need are going to suffer, and we’re going to be facing scarcity  budgets,” said Hoan. “Imagine trying to make decisions about how we resource 911, or our public safety services in the absence of resources.”

Despite the possible setback, Hoan feels there could be a simple solution to the problem, or at least a step in the right direction.

“The more people that are in Downtown, the more people that are shopping, that will be good for our city’s and county’s revenues.”