Portland's only REI store to close, citing crime and theft

Another day another store going out of business in Portland. Last week I wrote about a coffee shop closing a downtown location because of rising crime and problems with violent street people. Today, outdoor retailer REI announced it was closing its only Portland store because of increased crime and theft in the area.


In a letter to REI members, the company cited concerns over safety and an increase in crime over the last few years as reasons for the closure.

“The safety of our employees, members and customers is always our number one priority. In recent years, Portland has been dealing with increased crime in our neighborhood and beyond. Last year, REI Portland had its highest number of break-ins and thefts in two decades, despite actions to provide extra security,” REI said in its letter.

REI said they are evaluating opportunities for new locations, but do not believe a downtown Portland location is a possibility in the near future.

The store experienced a brazen theft last November when someone drove a car through the front entrance and stole a bunch of merchandise on Black Friday.

Portland police said on Black Friday someone used a car to break the entry door in order to steal clothing before leaving the scene. These brazen crimes seem to be happening more and more in the city…

Blake Schmidt lives in The Pearl and works at REI.

“It’s frustrating, I work here at REI,” Schmidt said. “I’ve seen a lot of changes here in the last couple of years, it’s hard.”

The store has been talking with Mayor Ted Wheeler who seems to be under the impression that police have done a good job coordinating with the store about the theft and break-in problem. In fact, Wheeler’s spokesperson gave a statement saying the city was working to help REI remain in the city: “Mayor Wheeler is committed to further supporting REI to help ensure we retain their business in Portland and help them succeed. All options are on the table as we explore paths forward.” But it sounds like there are no more paths forward. The store will close for good next February when the company’s lease expires.


Just last month Walmart announced it would close its remaining stores in Portland. Nike has also closed one of its stores several months ago and last month asked the city if it could hire off-duty police officers in the store. But the city said no and the store is still closed.

Nike is the epitome of a woke retailer so they don’t want to say out loud that the problem is theft by homeless people who never get prosecuted, but that’s what is happening. And no one wants to admit that all of this stems from defund the police efforts and nightly riots so that inconvenient history almost never gets mentioned by anyone. Here’s a local news report on the REI closure.

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