PORTLAND, Ore. (PORTLAND TRIBUNE) — People are leaving the greater Portland region faster than they are moving in, a trend likely to consider for years that policy makers must understand and respond to, according to a new study.
Oregon’s population is also declining, falling by around 16,000 people in 2022, according to the U.S. Census. That reverses 30 years of statewide growth. But population growth in Multnomah, Washington and Clackamas counties actually began slowing in 2016 — then accelerated into net migration losses in 2020, the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Portland alone lost more than 18,200 residents between the beginning of the pandemic and the last summer, according to census estimates released earlier this year.
“This is a big change and it’s not going to be any different for many years,” said Michael Wilkerson, a partner and director of analytics with the ECONorthwest consulting firm, who conducted the study, titled “Portland’s Industrial Economy: Today and Tomorrow.”
The changes are happening as the City of Portland is beginning to conduct the next Economic Opportunities Analysis mandated by state land use planning laws. It will help the City Council and Land Department of Conservation and Development understand whether Portland is properly zoned to meet its employment needs for the next 20 years. Wilkerson said city officials need to understand that the changes which have occurred since early 2020 are going to continue for many years after the analysis in finished and implemented.
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