PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Many people gathered at Pioneer Courthouse Square for the Central City Holiday Season Kickoff.
“People are coming back and things are coming back here. And I’m pretty excited about the holiday season,” said Portland resident and local business owner, Josh Gardner.
A National Retail Federation survey predicts people plan to spend nearly $900 on holiday items this year. Local business owners hope people will head their way.
“It’s so important to everything, to the economy and to everything here,” added Gardner. “I miss the days when Portland was so lively and there was always so many people down here. And I think it’s you know, it’s always been a great city and we got a little tarnish on us, but we’re starting to see that tarnish come off.”
City leaders also want people to make a trip to downtown Portland a part of their holiday plans. But for some people who have concerns about safety, Portland police say they have a plan in place.
“We’re going to have an increased presence in the downtown area for the holiday season,” stated Chuck Lovell, Portland police’s assistant chief. “We’re going to do some walking beats that are going to start Monday. And we’re really interested in doing our part to support people, feeling safe, coming downtown to shop and enjoy all the holiday festivities.”
Mayor Ted Wheeler says he understands people’s concerns.
“It’s hard for us to see the improvements that are taking hold,” Wheeler acknowledged. “And that’s not to say we’re not a city without our challenges. We are, but we’re also seeing improvement. And it’s because of true believers like all of you who believe and have confidence in the future of this city.”
Another Portland holiday tradition, PDX Pop-Up Shops, has also returned for the season. You can visit all nine shops now through Dec. 31, open Wednesday-Sunday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., except for Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.
Click the slideshow above for more details and for additional holiday events happening downtown.