PORTLAND, Ore. (KPTV) - Portland’s reputation isn’t the greatest. That’s the big takeaway from a city council meeting Wednesday morning, when Travel Portland presented a telling tourism report.
In the meeting, Commissioner Mingus Mapps started by bringing up some reputation concerns.
“Here’s the problem,” said Commissioner Mapps. “Around the world, too many people associate Portland with homelessness and homicide.”
“Today, a significant chunk of humanity is afraid of spending time and money in our city,” he continued.
That skepticism surrounding the city is holding back major economic recovery, according to the President and CEO of Travel Portland.
“Continued attacks and breaking glass on buildings throughout the city, but especially downtown, continued to affect this hard to overcome sentiment, “ said Jeff Miller. “Our central city occupancy in September lags every competitive city we tracked.”
A study by Travel Portland shows a major problem affecting the economy right now, a lot of people don’t want to attend conferences in the city.
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“Portland’s specific issues related to civil unrest and public safety concerns has exasperated the negative occurrences and declining attendances and group cancellations,” said Miller. “While the region struggles with solutions for local safety concerns, the impact on meetings and convention in future months and years remains evident, as Portland hotels continue to experience cancellations well into the future.”
“Well, it wasn’t uplifting, but I didn’t expect it to be,” said Mayor Ted Wheeler.
Mayor Wheeler responded by saying the city isn’t quite ready for marketing.
“I’m not saying stop your marketing, but right now people don’t buy it,” he said. “What they want to see is results.”
“Safety, homelessness, livability, and economic recovery, that’s the good news, they’re related,” said Mayor Wheeler. “So, if our council keeps our focus on reducing unsanctioned homeless camps and finding humane alternatives and reducing the impact of homelessness on our community.”
With travel and tourism in jeopardy, Mayor Wheeler said they’re making changes and will continue to do so.
“We do agree as a council,” he said. “We’re unified on these priorities.”
“We will be allocating resources in the near term in this fall budget process towards the issues that you raised as being primary concerns.,” he continued.
Not all of the presentation was negative. Travel Portland also spoke on its effort to ensure minority-owned businesses are being highlighted often.