PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A poll from the Portland Business Alliance shows how residents in the tri-county area feel about the issues that impact their cities the most, such as the economy, housing and crime.

The Portland Business Alliance collaborates with local research firm DHM Research to conduct this survey every year. From Dec. 8 to Dec. 14, 2022, about 500 registered voters in Multnomah, Washington and Clackamas Counties participated in the survey.

One focus of the study was voter pessimism. According to the business alliance, about 52% of all voters said the region is “off on the wrong track.” This statistic was 10% higher among the City of Portland voters, who made up about half of the voters overall.

The results also revealed that 78% of voters believe that the quality of life in the area is on the decline. This indicates an improvement from the previous year, in which 88% of voters said the quality of life was decreasing.

In the latest poll, voters were asked to identify which major problems were impacting the tri-county area. Thirty-four percent of voters identified homelessness as the biggest issue, while 19% of them said it was crime.

Although not all voters identified homelessness or crime as the region’s major problems, the majority agreed that they were “very concerned” about the issues. However, the level of concern has improved somewhat or remained the same from the previous survey.

According to the Portland Business Alliance, economic outlook is another factor that hasn’t significantly changed for voters within the past year.

Thirty-eight percent of the poll participants consider their economic opportunities to be “poor” or “very poor.” The percentage increases for voters outside of the city.

Nearly half of voters are concerned about affordable housing and the cost of living, while just 12% said they’re concerned about jobs. Another 61% answered that taxes are too expensive in the region.

In Multnomah County, most voters supported policy proposals related to housing and public safety, such as forming a City of Portland Municipal Court and designating homeless campsites.

Furthermore, the poll found that many Multnomah County voters consider affordable housing an important issue, but not as many agree to fund bonds that would help with the crisis.

“Specifically, when asked about whether they would support a future bond similar to the current Metro government affordable housing bond after the Metro bond ends, 42% of voters support and 45% oppose (a gap within the margin of error for this sample size), while 13% say they are unsure,” the business alliance said. “Reasons for opposing a future bond are similar across the region as well: mistrust in government, belief that little progress has been made, and feeling that taxes are currently too high.”

Safety in downtown Portland was a point of interest in the study as well. Sixty-four percent of Portlanders said that they felt safe in the downtown area during the day. Only 40% of voters outside of the city agreed.

On the other hand, 69% of Portland voters answered “yes” when asked if they felt unsafe while downtown at night; about 82% of the voters outside of Portland said “yes.”

KOIN 6 spoke with the PBA’s president, Andrew Hoan, about the study’s findings, and he shared that he thinks the city is trying to change, but it isn’t moving fast enough.

“They’re taking the right actions, the issue is the timeline,” said Hoan. “I think for all of us, we feel the county and city aren’t moving fast enough to respond with the sort of urgency we need to see. Voters want more action, less talk.”

A representative from Mayor Ted Wheeler’s office shared this statement about the PBA’s findings:

The Portland Business Alliance polling tells us much of what we already know: that Portlanders demand action on top priorities such as homelessness, community safety, economic prosperity and livability. These top concerns align with Mayor Wheeler’s priorities as we continue working to implement the improvements Portlanders are asking for.

Multnomah County Chair Jessica Vega Pederson also shared her response to the PBA poll:

No one should be happy with conditions right now. That is why today I announced a new housing initiative —   a month in as Chair —  that directs the Joint Office of Homeless Services to urgently focus on getting people out of tents in the central city and into apartments and connected with the services they need. That’s the first phase of a new intense approach we’re calling Housing Multnomah Now. And I’m establishing a new data reporting approach to hold the system accountable. I’m also working closely with the mayor, Metro president and the governor on coordination and funding. We all need to be doing our part to make the tri-county region the place where people love to live.

Things must change, and Multnomah County is committed to helping make that change more possible.