PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) - Starting Friday, Portland will be kicking off a weekend welcoming the community back to Portland.
It's called "Welcome Back to the Heart of Portland" weekend.
This weekend's events include performances by local band Pink Martini, free family-friendly activities as well as local art, food and music. You can find information on this weekend's events here.
It's been a long road to get here.
There's now more foot traffic, more cars and more energy in downtown Portland.
"I'm really glad to come back because it gives me a chance to meet the other people in our company, rather than just doing everything remotely," Gary Litvin said.
Litvin, who moved to the Portland area during the pandemic, is enjoying the change of pace for Portland, which made national news several times throughout the last year and a half for protests and violence.
But now, many feel the city's at a turning point.
"The reference we've been using a lot is it's kind of like the house has been ripped to the studs, so you know adding back as we grow," Q Restaurant General Manager Giselle Minshull said. "Rising tides raising all boats kind of thing where the more boards came down, the better the outcome was out for all of downtown."
Minshull feels things are slowing getting back to normal as we see more businesses at full capacity.
As people get back to the grind and return to offices downtown, Manager John Cummings of 40 Pounds Coffee shop feels the same about the energy in the city.
"First of all, I can hear everything everyone is saying cause we're not muffled anymore," Cummings said. "And it's nice everyone just seems much better, you know, much more positive."
In addition to the push to bring the community back, there's an effort to clean up as well.
Wednesday morning, volunteers with the group SOLVE picked up trash all over the city.
"I want to send a message to Ted Wheeler to not acquiesce to lawlessness and the importance of keeping our city clean, and if he just allows people to engage in lawlessness activities, then we're just going to keep having a dirty city," SOLVE volunteer, Krysten said.
Many recognize the safety issues the city's dealt with over the last several months, including last weekend's shooting that killed one and hurt at least six others.
But that's not going to stop businesses from moving forward.
"I think it's always good to be conscious of what's going on around you, but also trying to keep a level head," Minshull said.