Travel Portland is the name of group that promotes tourism to the city. It describes itself as “a promoter and steward of this evolving city and its progressive values, which have the power to transform the travelers who visit us.” But Wednesday the group presented a report to the Portland City Council with some bad news. The evolving city and its progressive values have become a big turn off to tourists.
“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.”
One specific problem the city is facing is the cancelation of major conferences. Travel Portland CEO Jeff Miller said, “Portland’s specific issues related to civil unrest and public safety concerns has exasperated the negative occurrences and declining attendances and group cancellations.” In other words, riots and shootings are bad for business. In fact, Travel Portland now has a page on its website devoted to frequently asked questions about safety and protests in the city. Here’s a sample:
In 2020, the death of George Floyd spurred more than 100 continuous days of protests, with most participants acting peacefully. Some individuals used the opportunity to behave unlawfully, and the city experienced some riots.
While the city occasionally sees small groups engage in disruptive behavior, activity is typically contained away from visitor attractions and areas where most visitors stay and explore. Protests have significantly decreased in recent months, in part due to city efforts to address concerns directly.
Portland saying it experienced “some riots” is the equivalent of Death Valley announcing it has experienced some warm weather. Over a period of three months starting in May 2020, Portland police declared 22 unlawful assemblies and 23 riots.
Despite all of that, local media argued the coverage of the riots was overblown. In January of this year, the Oregonian argued that, contrary to claims Portland was a city under siege, everything was fine. That got picked up by a number of people including CNN’s Brian Stelter.
But it turns out everything hasn’t been fine. A double shooting this week by a meth addict brought the number of homicides this year to 72, beating a record the city set back in the 1980s. And the rioters haven’t given up either. Just this month, Antifa went on a vandalism spree estimated to have done $500,000 in damage in less than one hour. The destruction was planned in advance to honor an Antifa supporter who died two years ago under unclear circumstances.
In August of this year, there was a gun battle between a member of the Proud Boys and Antifa in broad daylight. That same day an Antifa member assaulted a female journalist. Shockingly, tourists don’t find any of this appealing. Who could have predicted that nightly riots to defund the police could have negative consequences? Here’s the full Fox 12 report: