“Businesses are leaving,” said Andrew Hoan, president and CEO of the Portland Business Alliance.
Hoan said that the rioting is giving off the perception that coming downtown is unsafe. Regular visits from customers have been replaced with stores shuttered using strips of plywood, walls and shopfronts covered in graffiti and “an accumulation of damages that are un-repaired.”
“The financial consequences to the downtown corridor are a running calculation that is almost impossible to wrap your mind around,” said Hoan. Several businesses in the area have already lost a lot of revenue due to the rioting. According to him, the city must do something fast in order to make sure that the damage done to the commercial district doesn't last.
In late May, Kassab Jewelers was robbed of nearly $1 million worth of jewelry. The store, which is run by an immigrant family, did not receive any support from the city or the state. (Related: Portland officials seem to actually want their city to burn down.)
Stacey Gibson, the franchise owner of a Subway, is dispirited by the fact that the rioters don't understand how much hard work she has put into making sure her business is successful and that she treats her employees well and provides them with a good salary. All of this hard work, Gibson argues, goes down the drain because rioters “come in and destroy it by breaking the window and everything else.” Business owners are the ones who have to pay for the destruction, not the rioters, said Gibson.
The actions of the Black Lives Matter movement and their allies in the radical leftist organization Antifa prove that they do not care about either lives or property. Listen to this episode of the Health Ranger Report, a podcast by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, and learn about one instance wherein a member of BLM fired into a vehicle and was subsequently put down in self defense.
Amid concerns about the length of the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the rioting in downtown Portland, many companies have decided to simply avoid the problem by packing up and either switching to a remote working model or moving to a new office outside of the area.
The Standard Insurance Company is one of those businesses. A vast majority of their 2,100 employees in Oregon used to work at the Standard Insurance Center, a 27-story office building located downtown. Now, nearly all of them are working from home.
Bob Speltz, the company's senior director for community relations, said that the reasons for the changes are the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and “current disruptions and unsafe conditions in the neighborhood.”
Speltz said that, while a majority of their employees are working from home, a small handful remain in the Standard Insurance Center, and another group of workers have been relocated to their campus in Hillsboro, to the west of Portland.
Speltz also said that the company was not sure how many of their workers will be returning to the Standard Insurance Center, but that the company will be happy to recommit itself to its office in downtown Portland “assuming conditions in the neighborhood improve.”
Other large businesses are following suit, such as OCHIN, a national health nonprofit organization, which announced that it will be selling its 40,200 square-foot headquarters in downtown Portland. All of their employees are now working from home.
Unfortunately for Portland's business owners, the rioting has not been limited to the downtown area, where organized groups of Antifa and BLM rioters have been meeting every night to assault the county and federal courthouses. In the Kenton neighborhood in North Portland, many business owners are on edge due to the nightly destruction.
Terrance Moses, an African-American business owner and member of the Kenton Business Association, said that the current actions of the Black Lives Matter movement prove that it has drifted from its original purpose of promoting racial equality.
Moses said that, when he went to one demonstration, he was shocked to hear one of the protest leaders promoting the use of violence as a valid tactic. “His tone was ‘we're going to burn if that's what it takes to get our point across.’” Moses also witnessed them talking about how, if people end up going to jail, then they are going to jail “for the cause” and that this is the only way the Black Lives Matter movement is actually going to enact real change.
“‘So if you feel you need to burn some stuff up then you burn it up,’” said Moses, quoting the speech he heard.
Moses said that the movement's messages and actions are very counterproductive, especially if they actually do want to promote racial equality. It especially hurts people of color who are business owners, because they are already struggling due to having to deal with the coronavirus.
“Nine businesses in the Kenton district are Black and minority owned, and one of them was spray painted and we put thousands of hours putting together that plaza so Black-owned businesses can expand outside,” said Moses.
If the movement actually wants to reach people, Moses believes they need to stop being so destructive and start marching during the day. The people the movement needs to reach, Moses argues, are not outside of their homes during the evening.
“My [main] message to you is stop,” said Moses, when asked about what he would like to say to the demonstrators. “Let's regroup and have a plan other than destroying things for destroying's sake.”
Learn more about how the rioting is affecting the prosperity of communities in cities like Portland, Seattle and Minneapolis by reading the articles at Rioting.news.