‘Nothing’s the same’: Downtown Portland copes with closures

Coronavirus

Some businesses have permanently closed amid the ongoing pandemic and nightly protests

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Downtown Portland looks more like a ghost town in late August than the bustling metropolis from just a handful of months ago.

Between nightly protests and the ongoing pandemic, fewer customers are venturing into downtown Portland. Their absence has caused big problems for local businesses that depend on walk-in traffic.

On Friday, Blue Star Donuts announced it’s filing for bankruptcy protection after having to close four of its eight Portland locations and lay off the majority of its staff. Blue Star said it’s filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and will seek to restructure.

Some who do walk through Portland’s downtown streets notice a certain sadness.

“This used to be a beautiful, safe city — I don’t even recognize it. Nothing’s open, nothing’s the same,” said a passerby and former Portland resident named Jennifer, who added that it upsets her to see businesses boarded up for protection against violent protesters who emerge at night.

Green Zebra Grocery is permanently closing its Portland State University and Lloyd Center Business District stores in the coming days. Ben & Jerry’s and Pizzicato are also gone from the PSU area since thousands of students disappeared when classrooms closed their doors and moved to online learning.

But there are still many businesses open in the area whose owners are trying to attract customers. Cara, the manager of Chrome Hair Studio, said she hopes customers and shoppers realize the city is still alive and needs the public’s help in order to stay that way.

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