Residents of Portland, Oregon are no strangers to crime, but at what point will they say enough is enough? Because with this spike of crime which they seem to be growing accustomed to, their city will be left destitute. Another company is preparing to wave them goodbye if nothing is done.
Recreational Equipment Inc (REI) is the latest in a long line of businesses that has been forced out of Portland, and the reason is simple: crime. The flagship store in the Pearl District of the city has been targeted by criminals and has seen an unprecedented number of break-ins and theft in recent years.
With increasing concern for employee safety, REI has announced that it will be closing the store in early 2024 when the lease expires, joining the likes of Starbucks, Walmart, and Nike that have already shuttered their doors in the city due to crime and drug problems. But is this latest departure a sign that Portland is on a path to ruin?
According to National Review, Walmart closed its last two Portland stores in March. Walmart CEO Doug McMillion acknowledged that theft is an issue. “It’s higher than it’s ever been,” he said.
Additionally, Starbucks announced in 2022 that it would be closing at least 16 stores across the country, including two in Portland. According to the company, violence and drug abuse make employees feel unsafe on the job.
It’s not just businesses that are fleeing Portland. Many residents are choosing to move to other parts of the country – and with good reason.
According to the Portland Police Bureau, just two percent of reported theft incidents were forwarded to prosecutors in 2022. That means that criminals are getting away with their crimes, and law-abiding citizens are paying the price. It’s clear that the city’s leaders are failing to tackle the problem, and the result is a crumbling city with a bleak future.
It’s simply not the major companies being forced to close, it’s the small businesses are having a harder time staying open.
The closure of the REI flagship store is a blow to the city’s economy, but it’s also a sign of something far more worrying: the breakdown of law and order. When a company like REI – which prides itself on outdoor adventure and a love of the great outdoors – feels the need to leave a city because of increasing crime rates, you know that things are bad. And for a city that relies on tourism and outdoor recreation to keep its economy afloat, this news should serve as a wake-up call.
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