There are currently 115 active listings in Portland’s Pearl District. That seems to be a bit bloated certainly compared to the last 12-18 months. Is this part of some ‘exodus’ out of Rip City’s urban core? Since 2020’s 100 days of rioting it seems that the area has not improved much. The east end of the Pearl has hundreds of urban campers all around and the area is starting to look like a landfill. I had to take a relative down to Union Station early Sunday morning. It is always eerie being in the downtown of a large city in the wee hours of the morning as the streets are virtually empty and there is almost no activity at all. It was at that time that you really see what has become of the Rose City. There is trash everywhere, it is an environmental disaster in the core of a city that used to pride itself in environmental awareness. There seems to be a complete lack of concern these days. As the sun rose higher above the Cascades, the homeless began to stir about and wander the streets. It was like a scene from the Walking Dead and it is simply unacceptable. This problem is mostly due to local governments enabling drug addicts to waste away on the streets with programs designed to support the bad choices and life-style decisions rather than rehabilitating these people. There is also an abject failure of our society at large to help the mentally ill. Most of these ‘campers’ are capable of working a job and there are thousands of jobs available right now. Yet the people that are running Portland simply continue to encourage the bad behavior.
Although most of the ‘problem’ is east of NW 8th Avenue, much of the litter, trash, rats, and homeless people are now migrating west into the heart of the Pearl and even into the neighborhoods around NW 23rd Avenue. I even saw four condos in a row for sale in a small complex near Everett and NW 23rd. Nobody wants to pay a premium for rent or purchase and then have to contend with the same issues and filth found in cheaper neighborhoods. Thus they leave; and that can lead to falling real estate values. As if the rising interest rates were not enough.
I write about Portland because, what happens in Portland can have repercussions all over the Metro area. I worry our delusional leaders locally may just follow those idiots south of the border right over the precipice like mindless lemmings. Right now there is a HUGE difference for the better in the Vancouver Downtown area compared to Portland’s third-world example just across the Columbia.
The reason I bring this up is that I attend Vancouver City council meetings and / or listen to them on video and I hear things being said and suggested that are similar to things that Portland has already tried and failed at. Frankly it has been a demonstrable disaster as evidenced by anyone with two eyes and nose that has been to Portland recently. I am convinced that 80% of Vancouver residents are absolutely not interested in having our city turn into Portland. The council and the last three Mayors have done a great job bringing positive growth and improvement into Vancouver’s formerly dilapidated Downtown. Many kudos from me on that, but how they handle the increasing pressure of transients on our urban core, the mechanism to control the MAX train on our side of the river, and the impact of the new bridge on our Waterfront will determine whether Vancouver’s ambitions will survive into the next decade. This is a critical juncture in the history of our city.
We as a community can certainly capitalize on this apparent escape from Portland we are seeing right now. Our beautiful Downtown, spectacular Waterfront and relatively clean streets are attracting urban dwellers from Portland that want a ‘city vibe’ without the issues found in Portland. There is no other alternative to Portland than us, for the “city life” anywhere in the region. We have to let our local leaders know, we do not want that disaster over here.