What killed downtown Portland?

I see that Margulis Jewelers is closing in Jackson Tower, in the heart of downtown Portland. It's just not a viable location for retail any more. Which is really sad.

But what's even sadder is the way the media around here spin the decline and fall of downtown. Every other sentence is "pandemic." Folks, the pandemic is worldwide, but other cities aren't rotting at the core the way Portland is. The virus is not to blame for the Rose City collapse.

What is?

I think I'd put the black-bloc riots at the top of the list. The fires, the looting – that's when the businesses really started boarding up, and packing up. And the regular Joes and Janes started re-thinking whether they really needed to go downtown.

Then there are the drug dealers. And the regular gunfire. The muggings, and the relentless burglaries. The smash-and-grabs from the parked cars.

What probably killed business down there more than anything, though, are all the mentally ill and drug-addicted people roaming around screaming, shooting up in their tents, threatening shoppers and tourists, sometimes stabbing someone just for looking at them. It's only my opinion, but to me nothing spoils a shopping spree like being stabbed. Or stepping in human feces.

And let's be sure not to omit from the blame list the politicians and bureaucrats of City Hall, who do their best to drive successful people away. They hate cars, they hate single-family homes, they hate historic buildings, they hate lawns, they hate everything that once made Portland a great town. They lord their authority over everyone. You need a permit to go the bathroom. And they are vicious with taxes: gleefully imposing them, inventing new ones, and collecting them with a vengeance.

Not to mention the cops. They've been on unofficial strike for nearly two years now. Someone questioned why they have to be so mean and racist, and so they took their ball and went home to Ridgefield, Washington.

It all adds up. No wonder the Apple store is in a cage. To me it's a miracle that Mario's and Nordstrom haven't up and left. Who could blame them if they did?


  1. For me, it started with the mentally unhinged panhandlers. That was back in the eighties.

  2. And now is the time they decide to make parking more expensive

  3. What killed downtown Portland is all the factors you described, plus a couple more. I have a medium-size car, and I find it difficult to park in the continuously shrinking parking spaces downtown and in NW PDX. It irritates me that the city has done this, probably to punish people like me for daring to drive in any of the central areas. In addition, several people have told me they find it stressful to drive on the downtown streets because they get confused by all the bike lanes, bus lanes, and light rail tracks. You really have to pay attention so that you don't wander into the wrong lane or cause an accident.

    I used to drive, shop and walk downtown on a regular basis. Now I only go there if I absolutely need to. It's not safe, it's not an attractive place anymore, and on top of that there are too many hassles to contend with.

    1. You wrapped it up there pretty well Doug. Especially about the insane street layout. You have these narrow streets and they all seem to have some kind of restrictions and/or weird markings that are not very intuitive.

    2. I'm going second the "insane street layout" gripe... driving in the Alphabet district is simply asking for a blindside T-bone collision. Or worse, manslaughter of a delusional biker in their personal "right of way."

  4. 20 years ago this might had made sense, but Portland is much too ‘evolved’ to have something as flashy as a fancy jewelry store in the heart of downtown. They belong in the burbs, with the less-evolved consumerists and the hordes of cisgender breeders.

    But seriously, I remember when that location was either a Herfy’s or maybe an Arctic Circle. Even that would be too fancy for the “new Portlaand.”

  5. Our thanks to Ma Anand Sheela who started it all with dumping her homeless in Potland where the city opened its arms to welcome the new residents.


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