PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — You’ve heard about how the supply chain issues may disrupt the holidays in many ways large and small. But leaders in Portland have an idea to help — and an idea that will help local businesses.
Shop small, shop now and be here for Portland. That’s the message from Mayor Ted Wheeler and retailers in downtown to help keep businesses rolling during the various issues with supply-and-demand.
At a Friday afternoon event at Orox Leather Goods, Wheeler and a variety of speakers touted the resources and supports in place to help Portlanders shop small and shop now. Among the resources are shopping guides, business tips and a focus on BIPOC-owned businesses throughout the city.
“By supporting local craftsmen you are investing in the well-being of our city,” said Martin Martinez of Orox Leather.
But this comes at a time some people don’t feel safe coming to Portland.
“Portland’s specific issues related to civil unrest and public safety concerns has exacerbated the negative occurrence of declining attendance and group cancellations,” Travel Portland CEO Jeff Miller testified to the City Council on Wednesday. “While the region struggles with solutions to local safety concerns, the impact on meetings future months and years is evident.”
In that same meeting, Commissioner Mingus Mapps said people around the world have concerns about the state of things in Portland.
“Today a significant chunk of humanity is afraid of spending time and money in our city,” Mapps said then. “This new skepticism of Portland is a significant factor holding back our cultural and economic recovery.”
In light of that, KOIN 6 News asked Wheeler about how the perception of Portland as an unsafe spot will impact a recovery.
“I would encourage you to walk around right now. There are a lot of people shopping in downtown Portland right now,” the mayor said. “I’m looking out the window, the trains are going by, pedestrians going by, people are shopping in the stores here. And so, I’d argue on the whole, it’s very safe.”
Wheeler added he wants to bring back more police officers for the city, even though that effort will take time to implement.
“I would say to people while the security concerns are real, if you come downtown you’re going to find is you’re surrounded by lots of people,” the mayor said. “Lots of retailers are open.”
“Reputation matters,” Travel Portland’s Miller said. “Reputation recovery only happens when real change happens on the ground, where people can see it.”
Even though Oregon is not necessarily as affected by supply chain issues as other states, the slowdowns in the ports of Vancouver, Los Angeles and Long Beach are putting a crimp into getting supplies where they need to be.
That’s why city leaders encourage people to shop local and early.