PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — With most COVID-19 precautions now lifted in Oregon, Portland has seen a dramatic increase in the number of people people walking downtown this year than during the pandemic, according to Downtown Portland Clean & Safe.
A report released Tuesday detailed the number of pedestrians walking downtown in 2022 compared to 2021 and 2020.
Despite pedestrians returning to other major cities sooner than Portland, the report calls the Rose City’s 64% increase of pedestrians a “tremendous rebound.” In 2022, nearly 2.7 million more people reportedly found themselves in downtown Portland — usually for dinner, leisure or entertainment — than in 2021.
“This doesn’t happen overnight. And I think its residents were a little frustrated that we’re not, again, back at these pre-pandemic levels. But I think we’re trending in the right direction,” said Monique Claiborne, President & CEO of Greater Portland Inc.
With more people working hybrid or fully remote, Sydney Mead, Clean & Safe’s Director of Downtown Program, noted Portland is seeing an increase in foot traffic in the evenings and on weekends rather than the usual 9 to 5.
“The bright light in our recovery efforts has really been the return of big events to the downtown core, and we are seeing that these events are attracting people downtown,” said Mead. “I think what we also realized with COVID-19 is how important tourism is to our downtown retailers, and when you see traffic patterns that mirror that leisure travel of Friday, Saturday and Sunday, that really tells us that visitors are coming back to Portland.”
The report found that prior to the pandemic people typically spent time downtown between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. Now, in 2022, people tend to come downtown between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m.
“I would love for people to be more proud of our city because we have come a long way,” Mead said.
The full report can be found on Downtown Portland Clean & Safe’s website.