Downtown Portland’s foot traffic remains subdued at the start of holiday shopping | Jobs Reply

Pedestrian activity in downtown Portland showed a slight uptick from last year during the two holiday shopping weekends, according to preliminary figures from the Portland Business Alliance.

Overall, foot traffic is still about 60% of what it was in 2019, according to the PBA’s Katie Mongue.

Towns across the country have been hit hard by the pandemic, particularly because of the widespread shift to remote working for many office jobs.

But Portland’s recovery has been slow. An academic study last summer using cell phone location data concluded that Portland’s city commute was among the slowest among America’s major cities.

The Portland Business Alliance counts pedestrians every holiday season through its Clean & Safe program, using the numbers as a way to measure the city’s health. Holiday foot traffic dropped more than 70% in PBA statistics during 2020 and only recovered last year.

Foot traffic in downtown Portland was up 8% on Black Friday and the two shopping weekends that followed compared to the same time last year, according to preliminary numbers.

But the number of pedestrians counted the following weekend was slightly lower compared to last year.

Overall, the PBA says foot traffic is significantly lower compared to 2021. It will release a full analysis, with additional data from the remainder of the shopping season, early next year.

An October poll by The Oregonian/OregonLive found many people who live in and around Portland say the core of the city feels unsafe — especially at night. A previous DHM survey, paid for by the city, found homelessness to be the biggest problem preventing travel to the city. Litter, graffiti, vandalism and violent crime were other major concerns.

The city has tried different tactics to lure people back to the city, including a series of concerts and other events last summer.

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler said Wednesday that city workers will have to spend at least half of their working hours in the office starting next spring. The city is the city’s largest employer and many self-employed people can help revitalize local business.

Many other big city employers are looking to downsize, however, and are committed to a future where most of their employees work remotely at least part of the time.

— Mike Rogoway | | Twitter: @rogoway |

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