Businesses that are based in the downtown area of Portland, Oregon are fleeing their offices as the nightly Black Lives Matter riots continue to overtake the city.
“Businesses are leaving,” Andrew Hoan, president and CEO of the Portland Business Alliance (PBA), told KATU.
“The financial consequences to the downtown corridor are a running calculation that is almost impossible to wrap your mind around,” he added, going on to say that one company already has said that the riots have cost $20 million in damage and lost business.
“You have blocks and blocks of plywood. You have graffiti. You have an accumulation of damages that are unrepaired, an ongoing perception that coming downtown is not a safe place,” Hoan continued. “We need to start to turn the corner now, so that this sort of irreparable damage does not last.”
This comes after 83 consecutive nights of increasingly violent protests in Portland in the wake of the death of George Floyd, who died in police custody in Minneapolis, Minnesota back in May. On Tuesday night, the violence increased once again as a mob smashed its way into a government building and set fires, according to the New York Post.
Standard Insurance is one Portland-based company that has fled the downtown area, moving most of its 2,100 employees from its downtown HQ to work at a site located just outside the city, according to KGW8.
“Our downtown properties have sustained significant vandalism and a number of employees and contractors have been assaulted in recent months,” explained the company’s senior spokesman, Bob Speltz.
He added that moving the staffers away from downtown was necessary because of the “current disruptions and unsafe conditions in the neighborhood.”
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The insurance giant remains “committed to the downtown core,” Speltz said, “assuming conditions in the neighborhood improve.”
Stacey Gibson, who owns a Subway restaurant in Portland, said that everyone was “concerned” for safety and has had to hire extra people to try to keep staff safe.
“We work very hard to build our businesses and be successful and employ people, and when they come in and destroy it by breaking the window and everything else, we’re the ones who have to pay for that,” Gibson complained.
Mayor Ted Wheeler refused to comment about these complaints, just like he has refused to do anything to stop these riots.