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Op-Ed: The Looming Downfall of Portland

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Portland, Oregon
The Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall with its Portland street sign on a sunny day, in Downtown Portland, Oregon. File photo: Atmosphere1, Shutter Stock, licensed.

NEW YORK, NY – Large and small businesses are closing up shop and fleeing downtown Portland, Oregon as crime rates rise and policing declines. Walmart and Cracker Barrel have left town and local Portland chain Coava Coffee Roasters has closed its doors. Outdoors equipment company, REI announced that they are closing down their store in Portland’s Pearl District. The move is the latest in a series of businesses choosing to leave the heart of Portland. The city was once viewed as a go-to destination for artists and creatives on America’s west coast, but as crime and homelessness have spiked significantly, businesses as well as citizens are fleeing for safer locations.

Portland’s inability or disinterest to mitigate rampant homelessness and lawlessness is destroying the city. Numerous other problems exist such as the lack of affordable housing, increasing taxation, the drug addiction crisis, untreated mental illness, gun violence, traffic deaths and a lack of good education options for youth.

The “defund the police” movement is destroying the city as it has succeeded in divesting funds from police departments and reallocating those funds to social programs, such as mental health services, affordable housing, education, and community development.

Proponents of the defunding movement argue that traditional policing has not effectively addressed issues of crime and violence, especially in black communities, and that investing in alternative programs and services can help address the root causes of crime and reduce reliance on policing. They also argue that police departments are overfunded and that resources would be better spent on programs that help prevent crime in the first place.

But the programs are not having the desired effect and defunding the police has only led to a serious rise in crime and a reduction in public safety. Portland’s leftist guinea pig project has destroyed the city. Portland is nothing but a prime example of what happens when cities adopt extreme left ideologies.

Portland struggles with high levels of drug addiction among its population specifically because it is not doing enough to get to the root of the problem. Defunding the police is not the answer.

Portland has a long history of drug abuse, dating back to the 1960s and 1970s, when the city became a hub for drug trafficking in the Pacific Northwest. The city’s location, as well as the willingness of officials to look the other way, has made it an attractive location for drug dealers and users alike. Over time, drug abuse became more prevalent in the area, and many people became addicted to drugs, including opioids, methamphetamine, and cocaine. Fentanyl continues to be a major problem as well.

Fighting poverty and drugs in Portland requires a multifaceted approach that addresses the root causes of these issues while providing support and resources to those affected. Portland can invest in education by providing access to high-quality schools and programs that prepare individuals for well-paying jobs. This could include vocational training and apprenticeship programs that help individuals acquire skills that are in demand in the local job market.

Access to healthcare is essential for treating addiction and other health issues related to poverty. Portland must invest in community health clinics and other programs that provide affordable healthcare services to low-income individuals.

Unemployment is a major contributor to poverty and drug abuse. Job training and employment programs can provide individuals with the skills they need to secure well-paying jobs. This could include partnerships with local businesses to provide on-the-job training and apprenticeships.

Housing insecurity is a significant issue for low-income individuals and families in Portland. The city should invest in affordable housing programs and work to prevent homelessness. The city must clear away tent encampments from downtown and create an area away from the city center where the homeless can live.

By allowing these tent cities to flourish downtown, Portland continues to neglect its homeless and only contributes to the problem. This in turn exacerbates the drug problem, which then leads to rampant violence on the streets. It therefore comes as no surprise that so many businesses are fleeing downtown Portland. If the authorities are not interested in cleaning up the city’s mess and resolving or at least containing the homelessness problem, more businesses will leave and then citizens will be left with no choice but to abandon the city altogether.

Portland’s future hangs in the balance. Its leaders need to begin taking it seriously or the city will be nothing but a ghost town in a decade.

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