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Portland businesses fleeing downtown offices over nightly BLM riots

Portland businesses fleeing downtown offices over nightly
BLM riots 1

Large companies are fleeing offices in downtown Portland — because nightly Black Lives Matter riots are making the heart of the Oregon city a no-go area, according to a report.

“Businesses are leaving,” Andrew Hoan, the 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 said — with one company already saying 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 un-repaired, an ongoing perception that coming downtown is not a safe place,” Hoan said.

“We need to start to turn the corner now, so that this sort of irreparable damage does not last,” the business leader said.

Portland protests return downtown as police use tear gas.Portland protests return downtown as police use tear gas.Sean Meagher/The Oregonian via A

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Portland has seen regularly violence and destruction during 83 nights of consecutive protests, with Tuesday once again being declared a riot as a mob smashed its way into a government building and set fires.

Standard Insurance is one of the companies to now largely evacuate, switching many of its 2,100 Portland employees from its downtown HQ to instead work at a site just outside the city, according to KGW.

“Our downtown properties have sustained significant vandalism and a number of employees and contractors have been assaulted in recent months,” the company’s senior spokesman, Bob Speltz, said.

Portland Protests

Police officers in downtown Portland.

Beth Nakamura/The Oregonian via

Portland Protests

Portland Protests

Portland police and protesters clash during a demonstration.

Sean Meagher/The Oregonian via A

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Speltz told KGW that moving most of the employees away from downtown — with many already working remotely because of the coronavirus pandemic — was necessary because of the “current disruptions and unsafe conditions in the neighborhood.”

The insurance giant remains “committed to the downtown core,” Speltz said — “assuming conditions in the neighborhood improve.”

A Subway franchise owner, Stacey Gibson, told KATU 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.

KATU said Mayor Ted Wheeler did not respond to its story about the businesses’ complaints.

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