“Our downtown properties have sustained significant vandalism and a number of employees and contractors have been assaulted in recent months.”
The violence in downtown Portland has escalated in recent days with one reporter describing it as a war zone.
Thanks to the unchecked mob showing up amid a global pandemic, several companies have decided to either move out of downtown or have employees work from home.
The Standard Insurance Center at 900 SW 5th Avenue is part of downtown Portland’s cityscape and until this spring, was home base for most of Standard’s 2,100 Oregon employees. Nearly all of those employees are working from home now because of COVID-19.
Recently, Standard confirms, the company relocated a “small segment” of remaining employees requiring office space downtown, to Standard’s Hillsboro campus. Bob Speltz, Standard Insurance’s community relations senior director, told KGW the reasons for that are COVID-19 and “current disruptions and unsafe conditions in the neighborhood.”
“Our downtown properties have sustained significant vandalism and a number of employees and contractors have been assaulted in recent months,” Speltz said in an email.
But even after the pandemic ends, Standard Insurance does not know how many employees will return to the building. It all depends if the “conditions in the neighborhood improve.”
In a survey reported in July, an unnamed business lost $20 million:
The protests, combined with the pandemic, was found to have caused several million dollars in either damage or lost revenue, a survey administered by the Portland Business Alliance found.
One of the responding businesses reported losses of more than $20 million alone. The company wasn’t named in the findings, however the staggering number is said to still be growing.
‘The financial consequences to the downtown corridor are a running calculation that is almost impossible to wrap your mind around. The financial impacts of physical damage is one thing, and that continues to increase,’ the organization’s president and CEO, Andrew Hoan, said in July. ‘Then the ongoing loss of revenue to the business community who cannot operate their places of businesses is also a number that continues to rise.’
The whole situation will likely get worse since the riots have leaked into residential neighborhoods.
A week ago, rioters went into the Kenton neighborhood after police pushed them back. Residents expressed frustration on social media, demanding protection for everyone and small businesses.
[Business owner Terrance] Moses said business owners in the area are already struggling because of COVID-19 and this is only making matters worse.
“Nine businesses in the Kenton district is 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,” Moses said.
Moses’ message to those causing damage is plain and simple–he wants the violence to stop.
“My message to you is stop, let’s regroup and have a plan other than destroying things for destroying’s sake,” Moses said.
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