Sun, vaccinations, crowds: Portland ‘moment really good’


Downtown businesses, restaurants, hotels very busy this Memorial Day weekend

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Increased vaccinations, a “Lower Risk” level for Multnomah County and great weather all combined to make a very busy weekend for business owners, especially in downtown Portland.

There are also a lot of tourists enjoying downtown, a boost for the hotels in the area.

The past 3 days have been perfect for dining outdoors, and crowds of people did just that from the brand new Hyatt near the Oregon Convention Center (that reopened last week) to the jam-packed Kingsland Kitchen at SW 3rd and Pine.

Outside diners at Kingsland Kitchen in downtown Portland, May 31, 2021 (KOIN)

Owner Chris Payne said Monday afternoon was the slowest it’s been this weekend — but there was still a 2-hour wait to get a table.

“It’s tough around the world but it’s great to see people out and about,” Payne told KOIN 6 News. “The weather is fantastic. At the moment we are outside and business at the moment is really good.”

Payne loves the crowds. “We embrace it.”

The out-of-state tourists are also very visible.

Bri Roppolo and Mike Garries from Seattle came to Portland for the first time. They stayed at the new Hyatt, next to the Oregon Convention Center, which just reopened last week.

Portland is “close by but just far enough away that it’s sort of exotic, plus we took Amtrak,” they said. “It’s just a nice hop on the train in Seattle down to Portland.”

Tony Jackson and Jim Calvert from Sonoma, California are also visiting Portland for the first time. They have been pleasantly surprised.

“We went up to the Arboretum and Washington Park today and did some walks around town,” Calvert said. “Very nice city.”

Jackson said he was “a little surprised at the amount of homelessness. I suspect that’s grown in the past year. But overall people have been great.”

They’re enjoying the restaurants and parks but are also seeing the Rose City in the most Portland way possible — on bikes.

People inside Pedal Bike Tours in Portland, May 31, 2021 (KOIN)

Pedal Bike Tours was completely booked this weekend for the first time since the pandemic started about 15 months ago. Visitors who spoke with KOIN 6 News were from as far away as Washington, DC.

Pedal Bike Tours owner Todd Roll said this is the first time since the pandemic began they’ve been booked to capacity.

“We are running around having a great time, meeting new people, enjoying the weather and happy to be back earning income,” Roll said.

Downtown business owners hope this is just a sign of good things to come this summer.

And visitor Bri Roppolo said what a lot of people are thinking. “I think there’s more optimism that there has been in the past year.”

A line outside Voodoo Doughnuts in Portland, May 31, 2021 (KOIN)

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