PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Since 2020, downtown Portland and neighboring Old Town have been the epicenter for record crime, riots and out-of-control homelessness, making some people wary of spending time in the city.
But Friday, it was crowded with consumers.
“I’m surprised to see as many people as there are down here,” said shopper Zeb Bleu. “It’s nice to see.”
Jade Nelson, a woman visiting from San Francisco, did her holiday shopping downtown Friday and said she noticed boarded up windows.
“So many empty storefronts,” Nelson said. “San Francisco has the same problem — empty storefronts, empty buildings.”
Nelson said she feels safe, and she encouraged Portlanders to return.
“Come back downtown, it’s beautiful,” she said. “It just needs people to thrive.”
Mayor Ted Wheeler said he approved increasing police patrols in high traffic areas and bike patrols in Old Town ahead of holiday shopping.
Downtown Portland Clean and Safe said they have security officers patrolling downtown core as well. Pioneer Place would not go into detail about their security measures, but the mall has gates at their seven entrances.