After months of continuous protests in Portland, which have finally been declared a riot, the chickens are coming home to roost.
Unfortunately for the so-called “City of Roses,” businesses are fleeing the city because, as it turns out, nightly riots do not cultivate a productive business environment.
In fact, between the coronavirus-related forced shutdowns and the violent demonstrations, businesses in Portland’s downtown area are hemorrhaging millions of dollars between lost revenue and damage caused by protesters.
Andrew Hoan, CEO of the Portland Business Alliance, said the actual figure of business losses is mind-boggling.
“The financial consequences to the downtown corridor are a running calculation that is almost impossible to wrap your mind around. The financial impacts of physical damage is one thing, and that continues to increase,” Hoan told KATU-TV. “Then the ongoing loss of revenue to the business community who cannot operate their places of businesses is also a number that continues to rise.
“Businesses are leaving. We need to start to turn the corner now, so that this sort of irreparable damage does not last,” Hoan predicted. “You have blocks and blocks of plywood. You have graffiti. You have an accumulation of damages that are un-repaired, an ongoing perception that coming downtown is not a safe place.”
Standard Insurance, which housed 2,100 employees in The Standard Insurance Center in downtown Portland, has now removed nearly all employees from that location — and the rest may never return.
Company spokesperson Bob Speltz told KGW-TV that Standard Insurance made the changes due to “current disruptions and unsafe conditions in the neighborhood,” in addition to COVID-19.
“Our downtown properties have sustained significant vandalism and a number of employees and contractors have been assaulted in recent months,” Speltz told KGW.
And despite claiming Standard Insurance is “committed” to Portland’s downtown area, he said the company is exploring “permanent remote and alternative work options,” KGW reported.
According to the Oregonian, protesters gathered for the 83rd consecutive night on Tuesday, smashing windows and setting fires. The protesters eventually targeted the Multnomah Building, the county seat of government, setting small fires inside the building.
It is not clear exactly how much business the nightly riots have cost Portland businesses. In late June, the estimate was already in excess of $20 million.
Nationwide, however, that number could very well eclipse $1 billion, according to Fox News, when the noise finally quiets.