All of my adult children are born in Portland, Oregon. My wife of 33 years is also born in Oregon. What has happened to this city is akin to watching the place called hell invade the surface dwellers.
By Victoria Taft August 24/2023
The people elected and selected to run Portland, Oregon, are like kids who get their first car and never think to change the oil. The city is led by a cadre of ardent leftists who thought they could just rev the engine, ignore maintenance, and see the city magically run itself. Instead, they’ve driven the City of Roses into a Doom Loop.
At one time not so long ago, Portland leaders turned the sleepy town into a progressive hub for the creative class, spending billions on 19th-century light rail Choo Choo trains to convey bus riders to their planned utopia. The more the plans failed, the more the planners planned, as Ronald Reagan once said. Because of the hard hand of the planner class, a corrupt system of regulatory capture, and the certitude of those who know better than we do how to run our lives, Portland leaders never really stopped to consider if anyone wanted what they were selling. They went on blithely singing kumbaya and giddily handed the match to the activist left, which lit the Molotov cocktail that sparked the city’s self-immolation.
Now these leaders have regulated, locked down, and scared away a third of the downtown office buildings. When San Francisco hit this marker it was called a “doom loop.”
“Referred to as ‘death lists’ among real estate professionals, the documents outline properties that are economically unsustainable,” according to The Real Deal. These buildings are troubled assets that are in danger of defaulting on loans and handing them over to the bank.
Willamette Week, the city’s lefty weekly, which did the digging to find out how bad this problem is, concludes that Portland is worse off than other Democrat cities on the doom loop roller coaster because of its Antifa and BLM riots.
The question—and it’s a contentious one—is whether Portland is worse than any place else because of blight. Plywood that went up during the 2020 protests still obscures some downtown storefronts. Homeless camps that took root during the pandemic are only now being removed. On some downtown blocks, you’re just as likely to see someone smoking fentanyl as sipping a Frappuccino.
The question is only contentious in the leftist echo chamber. For the rest of the country, we saw what you did there, Portland.
The unfortunately named Tina Kotek, Oregon’s governor, has convened a blue ribbon panel of all the same lefty friends, NGOs, quasi-governmental groups, and favored business owners to fix the problem they spent years cheerleading.
A former president of First Interstate Bank of Oregon, Bob Ames, who’s now free to speak without being canceled, told Willamette Week that the problem is that Portland is reaping what it sowed. He told the publication, “The problem with downtown Portland is that you don’t want to be in downtown Portland.” He added, “We’ve driven a lot of capital out of here, and a lot of tenants. You’re not going to book another major employer into this city for a decade.”
Lefties in Portland want to blame the doom loop on a COVID hangover, but with all the missteps by Portland’s ruling class besides dumb COVID lockdowns, no one’s buying it. Indeed, this goat rodeo is getting worse. The Real Deal reports that “loans secured during the last real estate boom, marked by low-interest rates, are now reaching maturity and their value has diminished while interest rates have surged, creating an unfavorable environment for refinancing.”
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When I go to Portland now, my heart hurts for what Liberal communist government has done to the city and surrounding cities