Portland is one of the fastest-shrinking US cities

Published: May. 23, 2023 at 4:40 PM PDT
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PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) - Census data shows Portland lost the sixth-most people in the U.S. in the last year.

After 15 straight years of growth, Portland’s population began declining in 2020.

Amanda Ghest has lived in Portland for about 15 years. She says she enjoys it and is troubled to hear many are packing up and leaving.

“I know it’s been really tough for a lot of people through the pandemic,” Ghest said. “It’s been hard to see Portland at the forefront of some of those tensions.”

The data shows Portland lost 8,308 people from July 1, 2021 to July 1, 2022.

It disappoints Larry May, who has lived here since 1985.

“It’s like Portland died,” he said. “The tourists haven’t come back like they used to be. Especially the Japanese, they love this city.”

SEE ALSO: Portland nowhere near most dangerous cities in the US, new study of crime data shows

Ghest cites housing prices and the job market as reasons people are leaving. May says the biggest reason is safety because of cuts to police.

“I hope they get it back up again because the crime is really bad, shootings,” he said. “It’s not the Portland I knew.”

The Portland Business Alliance said these trends are concerning in its 2023 State of the Economy report. It says there are high and rising vacancy rates in downtown offices and increased crime. Addressing the city’s population it says, “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 Portland Business Alliance said if the trends continue, the economic outlook is as concerning as any time since double-dip recessions hit the u-s in the 1980s.

Ghest said it’s not the way she would like to see Portland heading.

“Here we are in this beautiful park,” she said. “It makes me feel a little sad.”