Multnomah County, home to Portland, Oregon, has taken a major hit to its economy as a result of an exodus of residents who were concerned about the escalating crime rates, homelessness crisis, and overall safety during the pandemic. Oregon Live conducted data analysis, revealing that in 2020, a staggering 14,257 tax filers and their dependents left Multnomah County, taking with them a record-breaking $1 billion in income.
Notably, the higher earners led this mass exodus, as many of them had the flexibility to work remotely during pandemic-related shutdowns. On average, the income of the departing residents was 14% higher than the previous year’s leavers. As a result, Portland saw its continuous 15-year streak of growth abruptly halted.
The surge in crime in Portland coincided with this economic decline, reaching such alarming levels that the city broke its own homicide records in both 2021 and 2022. Additionally, the homeless crisis in the area worsened, with reports of increasing homelessness and associated crimes. Business owners in Portland expressed deep concern regarding the state of the city, highlighting the lack of protection and recourse against rampant criminal behavior.
Unfortunately, the situation did not improve in the subsequent years, with Portland losing an additional 8,308 residents from July 2021 to July 2022. This decline placed the city in the sixth position among cities experiencing the most significant loss of residents during that period.
The transformation currently underway in Portland has left long-time residents feeling an acute sense of loss, as the city they once cherished seems to have disappeared. Mayor Ted Wheeler’s office declined to comment immediately on the matter. The challenges posed by crime, homelessness, and safety concerns continue to deter growth and stability, casting a shadow over the county’s and city’s future.