Welcome to Portland, Where Getting a Job Is Easy but Staying Safe Is Hard

By Eric Fruits, Ph.D.

Two of my kids are young adults working retail. They are eyewitnesses to the decline of what was once The Most Livable City in the Nation.

Over the weekend, my daughter was working her shift, when a man walked into the store and started haranguing her. He accused her of following him through the store. “I was just hanging up clothes,” she told me. When she left on break, he was hanging outside the store and berated her again. He spent most of that afternoon aggressively harassing people up and down Hawthorne Boulevard.

A few days earlier, my son stopped at a fast-food drive-through on his way home. Ahead of him was a pedestrian at the drive-through window. That guy pulled a gun on the cashier. The quick-thinking cashier shut the window, walked away, and called the police who arrived 30 minutes later.

It’s not just my kids. Starbucks recently announced it’s closing two Portland stores out of concerns for employee safety.

I know people like to say, “Keep Portland Weird.” But, weird isn’t working. City leaders think they’re serving some social justice cause by allowing troubled people to harass or threaten teens who are just trying to do their jobs. There’s no justice in wondering if working your retail or fast-food shift might end in getting assaulted or shot.

Portland can be a livable city, but public safety is a key ingredient. We’re missing that ingredient, and it seems City Hall has little interest in bringing it back.

Eric Fruits, Ph.D. is Vice President of Research at Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon’s free-market public policy research organization.

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Comments 2

  1. Avatar for Michael R Coates

    Michael R Coates

    2:07 pm - July 15, 2022

    More good, common sense, logical perspective on the rapid decline of Portland, Oregon. If you haven’t read this book: BLM: The Making of a New Marxist Revolution by Mike Gonzalez I urge you to do so. I would lend you my copy but I am a Kindler. Anyway, you, John and the team at Cascade are the last line of defense, truth. Happy to buy you coffee some day when you have time, just let me know. Please keep up the great work.

  2. Avatar for william mackenzie

    william mackenzie

    2:26 pm - July 22, 2022

    I know people like to say, “Keep Portland Weird.” But, weird isn’t working.

    Great line.

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