PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Columbia Sportswear announced its footwear brand Sorel is moving from its downtown Portland office as more office workers are leaving the area.
Sorel is moving from its offices above the Columbia store on Southwest Broadway to the Columbia headquarters in Washington County.
Downtown Portland has been trying to recover as a lack of office workers in a work from home environment has contributed to a slower recovery compared to other cities.
Columbia says this is a move of growth — saying the Sorel brand’s rapid revenue growth is expected to continue for five years, prompting the move to a larger space.
The Portland Business Journal reported in early 2022 there is a 26% vacancy rate for downtown Portland’s office space.
Officials told KOIN 6 News around 70 employees are moving but noted with hybrid and work from home environments that’s a hard number to pin down.
In a statement from Columbia, CEO Tim Boyle says Sorel is “an amazing story and a testament to the creativity and drive of Sorels’ employees.”
Boyle has also been critical of downtown Portland — penning a 2017 op-ed in the Oregonian, shortly after Sorel opened above the Columbia store, saying he was concerned for the safety of his employees.
In a statement, Mayor Ted Wheeler said “I am disappointed that SOREL will be moving their headquarters out of Portland, but am grateful to hear they are expanding and that Columbia’s store location will remain downtown. My office and I have worked with Columbia to help provide improved public safety resources, including a high-volume pedestrian corridor in front of their facility.”