Where We Live: The Goodman family’s Portland optimism

Multnomah County

Their Downtown Development Group owns nearly 2 million square feet of space in Portland

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Few families have a more vested interest in downtown Portland than the Goodman family. Their Downtown Development Group owns nearly 2 million square feet of retail, warehouse and office space in Portland’s Central City.

Greg Goodman’s latest project in the 11W in Portland’s west end. The 11W will have underground parking, ground floor retail and be topped with offices and apartments.

It’s one of dozens of properties the Downtown Development Group owns or controls, including the land on which Columbia Sportswear and other prominent buildings sit.

The group has more than two dozen shovel-ready parcels ready for development. But Goodman said now is not the time.

Sites ready for development in Portland (Courtesy: Downtown Development Group)

“I’ve received one call with one potential tenant — probably not going to happen — in the last year-and-a-half,” he told KOIN 6 News. “There is no demand right now.”

Goodman blames the pandemic, violence and vandalism — and Portland’s tattered national reputation.

Developer Greg Goodman in Portland, October 2021 (KOIN)

“Downtown has definitely taken a hit. No doubt about it,” he said.

There is nearly 7 million vacant square feet of property in central city, space that will not get filled until downtown is an attractive destination again, he said.

Portland has to clean up the crush of homeless and mentally ill people on the streets without enough housing or treatment options, he said.

“I would give us in the last year a ‘D’ to a ‘D-‘,” Goodman said. “The electeds need to work together to get this done or turn it over to the private sector and let them do it.”

Still, Goodman remains optimistic.

It’s been the family ethos since his dad, Doug Goodman, and Doug’s father Walter started buying downtown property in 1955 for parking lots.

City Center Parking had more than 200 lots in the central city. Asked if there’s money in parking, Goodman laughed and said, “Well, there used to be.”

An undated photo of a City Center parking garage in downtown Portland (Courtesy: Downtown Development Group)

The family sold it in 2012. The next generations of Goodmans, including Greg’s brother Mark, turned their attention to development.

“My family is in it long term,” he said. “We’ve been in business for 60 years in Portland. We’re going to be in it for 60 more.”

Goodman believes the first step to a downtown Portland comeback is getting people off the street.

“We gotta fix our own playground and then people will come back,” he said. “It’s going to get better.”

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