PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The numbers tell a story but not the whole story: 87 straight nights of protest on the streets of Portland, 23 more arrested Sunday night, nearly 20 riots declared over the past 3 months.
For Greg Goodman, the co-president of the Downtown Development Group, there are other numbers that tell a deeper, even more disturbing story: the number of businesses that are moving out of or locating outside the central district of Portland.
“The number is like nothing I have seen in 42 years of doing business in downtown,” Goodman said in a letter he sent to Mayor Ted Wheeler and the members of the Portland City Council.
Goodman said these companies include Daimler Chrysler, AirB&B, Banana Republic, Microsoft (who he said is permanently closing their retail store), Saucebox and Google, “who leased 90,000 square feet in the Macy’s building (and) has stopped construction of their improvements. The list goes on and on. If you know a retail or office broker, give them a call and ask them how many clients they have are trying to leave.”
On Tuesday, officials with Google said the “Portland protests have not impacted Google’s construction schedule,” refuting that portion of Goodman’s letter.
Their departure, he said in the letter, has nothing to do with the Black Lives Matter movement “but does have most everything to do with the lawlessness you are endorsing downtown.”
One protester who spoke with KOIN 6 News, Linneas Boland-Godbey, is also frustrated at the nightly violence.
“I understand and I see the frustration because I’m just like, it’s like, burning a mattress for me or a dumpster, doesn’t necessarily help my community,” Boland-Godbey said. “And that’s why I’m out here being, like, can we do a different form of protest besides burning down something?”
The ongoing protests are also tying up resources which make it difficult for police to respond to other calls. Over the weekend, Portland police officials said they had a backlog of 120 to 140 calls for service, including shots fired, assaults, threats and suspicious circumstances.
Goodman is fed up and said so in his letter to the entire City Council.
“I would encourage each of you to walk around downtown Portland in the morning,” he wrote. “Name the time and I will give you a tour. You aren’t sweeping the streets, needles are all over the place, garbage cans are broken and left open, glass from car windows that have been broken out is all over the streets, parks are strewn with litter (their fountains turned off) weeds are taller than the plants in the planter boxes, graffiti is on sculptures, etc. You are willfully neglecting your duties as elected officials to keep our city safe and clean.”
In a statement to KOIN 6 News, Mayor Ted Wheeler said:
“I vehemently oppose what the Proud Boys and those associated with them stand for, and I will not tolerate hate speech and the damage it does in our city. White nationalists, particularly those coming to our city armed, threaten the safety of Portlanders, and are not welcome here. Regarding Saturday afternoon’s protest, I am closely reviewing and discussing with Chief Lovell Portland Police Bureau’s strategy to limit their intervention in the right-wing protests and counter-demonstrations. We will share more information with the public. We are at a critical place where police officers are needed to intervene in protests where police officers themselves are the flashpoint.”