Multnomah County in Oregon, encompassing Portland, has experienced a substantial economic decline due to an exodus of residents seeking refuge from escalating crime, homelessness, and safety concerns during the pandemic. An analysis conducted by Oregon Live indicates that in 2020 alone, 14,257 tax filers and their dependents departed from Multnomah County, resulting in a staggering loss of $1 billion in income.
The majority of those leaving were higher-income earners who had the flexibility to work remotely during pandemic-related shutdowns. Interestingly, the average income of these departing residents was 14% higher compared to the previous year’s departures. This mass exodus abruptly halted Portland’s 15-year streak of growth and development.
In conjunction with the economic downturn, the city of Portland witnessed a surge in criminal activities, resulting in record-breaking homicide rates in both 2021 and 2022. The homelessness crisis exacerbated during this period, with reports highlighting the increasing numbers of homeless individuals and the associated rise in crime. Distressed business owners voiced their concerns about the city’s deteriorating conditions, emphasizing the lack of protection or recourse against uncontrolled criminal behavior.
Unfortunately, the situation showed no signs of improvement in the subsequent years. From July 2021 to July 2022, Portland lost an additional 8,308 residents, placing it sixth among cities with the most significant decline in population during that period.
The current state of Portland has left long-time residents with a sense of loss, as the city they once knew no longer resembles its former self. Mayor Ted Wheeler’s office did not immediately provide comments on this matter.