What businesses are leaving Portland?

What Businesses are Leaving Portland? Find Out Why!


Portland, known for its vibrant business community, has been experiencing a noticeable exodus of businesses in recent times. This trend has raised concerns and sparked discussions about the reasons behind these departures. If you’re curious to know what businesses are leaving Portland and why, we’ve got you covered. In this article, we’ll explore the factors contributing to the Portland business exodus and shed light on the implications for the city’s economy and workforce.

Key Takeaways:

  • Portland has seen a doubling of downtown office vacancy, with the rate increasing from 13% before the pandemic to 26% in the second quarter of 2022.
  • Businesses cite various reasons for leaving Portland, including concerns about the shifting workplace and safety issues in the central city.
  • Rising crime rates in Portland have been a significant factor in businesses’ decisions to relocate, with notable companies like SOREL, Nike, and REI citing safety concerns as their primary reasons.
  • While some businesses are leaving, others are choosing to stay or relocating to different areas within Portland, indicating a complex picture of business migration in the city.
  • The closure of major retailers, including Starbucks, Cracker Barrel, Walmart, and Nike, due to safety and security concerns, further contributes to the business exodus from Portland.

The Impact of Rising Crime on Business Exits

The rise in crime in Portland has had a significant impact on businesses, leading many to make the difficult decision to leave the city. With the increase in homicides, robberies, and break-ins, companies are increasingly concerned about the safety of their employees and the overall perception of the city. This safety concern has become a major factor in their decision-making process.

Well-known companies such as SOREL, Nike, and REI have all cited safety concerns and the rise in crime as primary reasons for their relocations. The safety of their employees and customers is of paramount importance to these businesses, and they believe that moving to a different location will provide a more secure environment for all stakeholders involved.

The impact of crime on businesses extends beyond the immediate safety concerns. It also affects the overall perception of the city as a business-friendly environment. When companies see an increase in crime rates and witness the negative effects on other businesses, it raises doubts about the long-term viability and stability of operating in Portland.

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Companies Leaving Portland and Their New Locations

As the business landscape in Portland undergoes significant changes, several notable companies have chosen to leave the city and establish their headquarters in different locations. This shift reflects the evolving needs and preferences of businesses in response to various factors. While some companies have opted to relocate outside of Portland, it is important to note that others are choosing to stay or even double down on their presence within the city.

Unitus Community Credit Union: A Move to Tigard

Unitus Community Credit Union is among the companies that have decided to leave Portland and embrace a distributed work strategy. As part of this strategy, the credit union is moving its headquarters to Tigard, a nearby city. By allowing their employees to work remotely, Unitus is capitalizing on the flexibility and benefits of this new work model, which reduces the need for a centralized office space.

KinderCare: Embracing Hybrid Work and Downsizing

KinderCare, a well-known childcare provider, has completed its move from Portland to Lake Oswego. The company’s decision to relocate was driven by the adoption of a hybrid work model and the need for less office space. By embracing a combination of remote work and in-person collaboration, KinderCare is optimizing its operations and adjusting to the changing demands of the post-pandemic business environment.

Staying Put and Expanding: Thesis, Allbirds, and Street Roots

While some businesses have chosen to leave Portland, others have reaffirmed their commitment to the city. Companies such as Thesis, Allbirds, and Street Roots are doubling down on their presence in Portland proper or within the city. By staying in Portland and expanding their operations, these companies are actively contributing to the local economy and demonstrating their confidence in the city’s potential for growth and innovation.

Major Retailers Closing Stores in Portland

Portland has witnessed the closure of several major retailers in recent times, leading to concerns about the city’s business landscape. One such example is Starbucks, which closed two stores in Portland as part of its nationwide closures. The company cited safety concerns related to the city’s mental health crisis and rising drug use. Cracker Barrel, another well-known retailer, closed its Jantzen Beach location due to security issues and later closed three more Oregon locations due to the impact of the pandemic on its business. Walmart also shuttered multiple stores in the Portland area, attributing the closures to financial expectations rather than theft.

Meanwhile, Nike made the decision to permanently close its Northeast Portland community store due to deteriorating public safety conditions and retail theft. The closure of this prominent location is indicative of the challenges faced by retailers in the city. Similarly, REI announced the closure of its Pearl District store, citing safety concerns and an increase in crime as the primary reasons for its decision.

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The closures of these major retailers in Portland have sent ripples through the local business community and raised questions about the reasons behind these store closures. Factors such as safety concerns, rising crime rates, and the impact of the pandemic on businesses’ bottom lines have all played a role in these decisions. As the city grapples with these challenges, it remains to be seen how Portland’s retail landscape will evolve in the coming years.

The Closure of Target Stores in Portland

Target, one of the largest retail chains in the United States, recently made the decision to close three of its small-format stores in Portland. This announcement has sparked discussions about the impact of organized retail crime and theft on business operations in the city. Target cited shoplifting and the rise of organized retail crime as the main reasons for these closures, highlighting the need to address this issue for the safety of both their team members and guests.

These closures are not isolated incidents but rather part of a broader trend of retail closures in Portland following the pandemic. The surge in theft and security concerns has created significant challenges for businesses, leading some to reconsider their presence in the city altogether. Target’s decision to close these stores underscores the urgent need for city leaders to address the issue of organized retail crime in Portland in order to attract and retain businesses.

The impact of theft on business operations extends beyond the immediate loss of merchandise. It also affects the confidence and trust that retailers have in the safety and security of their stores. As a result, businesses may be reluctant to invest in new locations or expand their operations in areas that are experiencing high rates of theft. This not only hinders the growth and economic development of the city but also creates a negative perception that can further deter businesses from considering Portland as a viable location.

The Overall Picture of Business Migration in Portland

The business landscape in Portland is undergoing a complex transformation, with companies making decisions to leave, stay, or relocate within the city. Business migration from Portland is influenced by various factors, including vacancy rates, cost considerations, safety concerns, and the adoption of hybrid work models. It’s essential to understand the overall picture to gain insights into the current state of business migration in Portland.

One significant factor affecting business migration is the office space vacancy rates in the city. According to recent data, the downtown office vacancy in Portland has doubled from 13% pre-pandemic to 26% in the second quarter of 2022. This surplus of available office spaces may prompt some businesses to consider relocating or downsizing their operations. However, it’s important to note that this trend is not universal, as other companies are choosing to remain or even establish their headquarters in different areas within Portland.

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The net migration of companies in Portland is also influenced by safety concerns and the rise in crime rates. Several major companies, including Columbia Sportswear-owned brand SOREL, Nike, and REI, have cited safety concerns and an increase in crime as reasons for their relocations. To address this issue, the Portland Business Alliance has called for increased police investments. The overall impact of safety concerns on business migration remains a significant consideration for companies evaluating their presence in Portland.

Looking ahead, the future trajectory of business migration in Portland will be shaped by various factors, including the availability of office space, the city’s economic recovery, and ongoing efforts to address safety concerns. Additionally, the estimated two million square feet of office space expected to hit the market in the next 12 to 18 months could further impact vacancy rates and the decisions of businesses to relocate. The business migration landscape in Portland continues to evolve, and understanding these dynamics is crucial for businesses and city leaders alike.


The business exodus from Portland paints a complex picture, with different companies citing various reasons for their decisions to leave or stay. Safety concerns, rising crime rates, the adoption of hybrid work models, and financial considerations all contribute to shaping the business landscape.

While some businesses are choosing to leave, others are reaffirming their commitment to staying in Portland or finding alternative locations within the city. The future trajectory of business migration in Portland will be influenced by factors such as increased investments in police resources, the availability of office space, and the overall economic recovery of the city.

In summary, this business exodus highlights the challenges faced by Portland. However, it is important to note that not all businesses are leaving. Many are finding ways to adapt and thrive within the city. As Portland navigates these changes, it will be crucial to address safety concerns, support businesses, and create an environment that fosters growth and stability.

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