Business leaders to Mayor Wheeler: Clean up downtown

2020 Protests

Mayor pledged to clean Portland parks daily

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — About 70 business leaders, from retail to real estate, made it clear to Mayor Ted Wheeler: They’re not happy about the state of downtown Portland from the nightly protest violence, damage to their stores and the growing number of homeless tents on city sidewalks.

Wheeler called this meeting to order after his online press conference Wednesday to address the state of the city, its “resilience” and his plans for recovery. He also said he will work with police leaders and business leaders to get the city back from a crisis.

While the businesses pledged support they let him know how bad it’s gotten.

“We are having a very, very hard time keeping people employed when people don’t want to work downtown,” Stacey Dodson from US Bank said. “They’d rather be unemployed than work downtown. That’s a reality.”

The aftermath of a Portland protest, taken the morning of August 21, 2020 by Greg Goodman, the co-president of the Downtown Development Group (Courtesy to KOIN)

The mayor agreed there is a crisis and promised he will commit city money to clean up downtown and keep it that way — including the downtown parks every morning. Wheeler also plans to add 300 to 500 new shelter beds to help people living on the street.

And he said he would meet with new Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt to make sure property crimes are prosecuted.

Wheeler, who is also police commissioner, revealed some of the strategies he discussed with PPB commanders to try and end the nightly violence — containing those who are violent, making targeted arrests and getting additional support.

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