Businesses were in bad shape because of the pandemic even before the riots started. In Portland the protests happen every night and riots have been declared nearly every other night in the month of August. A business group sent Mayor Ted Wheeler a letter warning him an exodus from the city had begun because of the ongoing lawlessness:
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…
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.”
Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be a link to the full letter available but Fox News published some of it:
Goodman said companies include Daimler Trucks North America, Airbnb, Banana Republic, Microsoft, Saucebox, and Google, which he claimed: “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,” he continued.
Goodman encouraged city leaders to “walk around downtown Portland in the morning,” adding that he would personally give them 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,” he wrote. “You are willfully neglecting your duties as elected officials to keep our city safe and clean.”
Google contacted KOIN to say that its plans weren’t impacted by the riots so take that for what it’s worth. I’m not sure they tell us the truth if they were? Any response to BLM activity is a PR issue for major companies. They are going to handle this as PR, i.e. spinning this in whatever way will do the least damage.
Here’s KOIN’s video report on the rioting and the letter from the Downtown Development Group. It’s frustrating to see the black BLM protester interviewed for this story who agrees that the violence is counter-productive but who doesn’t want to tell other people how to protest. It really shouldn’t be that hard to tell people that setting fires is not the way to get your point across. But I guess that’s the point we’ve reached. Saying ‘riots are bad’ is considered controversial now.