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Multiple Portland companies plan to move out of downtown office spaces because ongoing BLM protests have made the area 'unsafe' - with reports of widespread vandalism and 'workers being attacked'

A number of companies based in downtown Portland are set to vacate or sell their offices because on-going protests in the city against police brutality have led to 'unsafe' conditions in the area, reports suggest.
Activists have taken to the city streets for the last 82 consecutive nights to demonstrate under the banner of Black Lives Matter, but some of the rallies have descended into chaos, resulting in violent clashes with police or widespread acts of vandalism.
The protests were spurred by the Memorial Day police killing of George Floyd in Minnesota, and other examples of cop brutality across the US. 
But businesses in the area now say the perpetual disruptions have caused ‘unsafe conditions’ in the neighborhood – and they want out.
Standard Insurance, whose headquarters at 900 SW 5th Avenue is a key part of downtown Portland’s cityscape, have removed the last of their 2,100 employees from the center and have relocated them to their office in Hillsboro.
‘Our downtown properties have sustained significant vandalism and a number of employees and contractors have been assaulted in recent months,’ Standard Insurance's community relations senior director Bob Speltz told KGW.
Standard Insurance, whose headquarters at 900 SW 5th Avenue is a key part of downtown Portland¿s cityscape, have removed the last of their 2,100 employees from the center and have relocated them to their office in Hillsboro
Standard Insurance, whose headquarters at 900 SW 5th Avenue is a key part of downtown Portland’s cityscape, have removed the last of their 2,100 employees from the center and have relocated them to their office in Hillsboro
A spokesperson for Standard Insurance said they will return 'if conditions in the neighborhood improve' (pictured: Police declared a riot around midnight as Portland protests continued for the 80th consecutive night Saturday)
A spokesperson for Standard Insurance said they will return 'if conditions in the neighborhood improve' (pictured: Police declared a riot around midnight as Portland protests continued for the 80th consecutive night Saturday)
In the long-term, Standard Insurance says it’s exploring more permanent remote and alternative work options.
Speltz says the removal of its workforce from the area is likely temporary but he’s unsure how many workers will return to the company’s downtown locations.
The majority of its 2,100 workers had already been working from because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Speltz said.
‘We remain committed to the downtown core,’ Speltz continued, ‘assuming conditions in the neighborhood improve.’
While the future of Standard’s Portland buildings remain unclear, numerous business owners in the area spoke out last month about how they were losing massive amounts of money due to the demonstrations and may also have to consider relocating.
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.'
Business owners said the continued clashes in the city, particularly in front of the federal courthouse, are affecting profits and their sense of safety.
'Safety-wise, we’re just concerned. Our employees are a little bit nervous being here, especially later in the evenings. We try to have extra people just to make sure that everybody is safe and feels comfortable,' Stacey Gibson, a Subway franchise owner, told KATU
Business owners said the continued clashes in the city, particularly in front of the federal courthouse, are affecting profits and their sense of safety ( a deserted downtown portland is seen on June 17)
Business owners said the continued clashes in the city, particularly in front of the federal courthouse, are affecting profits and their sense of safety ( a deserted downtown portland is seen on June 17)
Portland police walk past a dumpster fire during a crowd dispersal on Friday night. The Portland Police Bureau changed tactics Friday night, blocking streets well before the protest of about 400 people could reach the Portland Police Association building
Portland police walk past a dumpster fire during a crowd dispersal on Friday night. The Portland Police Bureau changed tactics Friday night, blocking streets well before the protest of about 400 people could reach the Portland Police Association building
Dozens of police officers dressed in riot gear clashed with a group of about 300 to 400 protesters in North Portland on Friday night after declaring an unlawful assembly
Dozens of police officers dressed in riot gear clashed with a group of about 300 to 400 protesters in North Portland on Friday night after declaring an unlawful assembly 
Though Gibson said she supports the protests' aims, she said the late-night violence and destruction make it tough to operate a business in the area.
'We just need to find some sort of a peaceful resolution and resolve it so we can all open back up and just deal with the COVID situation,' Gibson said.
Hoan said a number of business have already left downtown, though the exact number is not known. 
'We are aware that it is happening. Businesses are leaving,' Hoan said. 'We need to start to turn the corner now, so that this sort of irreparable damage does not last.'
Hoan told KATU the boarded up business make it seem as if the area is closed and unsafe, which isn't helping matters. 
'You have blocks and blocks of plywood. You have graffiti. You have an accumulation of damages that are un-repaired, an ongoing perception that coming downtown is not a safe place,' he added.
Other companies, such as non-profit OCHIN, announced plans this week to permanently leave the area – but deny the protests have anything to do with the decision.
OCHIN announced on Friday that it would be putting its 40,200 square-foot office at 1881 SW Naito Parkway on the market on August 27. The company purchased the property for $14 million just three years ago.
Spurred by the Memorial Day police killing of George Floyd in Minnesota, businesses in the area now say the perpetual disruptions have caused ¿unsafe conditions¿ in the neighborhood ¿ and they want out
Spurred by the Memorial Day police killing of George Floyd in Minnesota, businesses in the area now say the perpetual disruptions have caused ‘unsafe conditions’ in the neighborhood – and they want out
According to a press release announcing the news, half of its employees already worked from home before the pandemic began ravaging the country in early March – and now all of them do.
‘What we've learned since then is a fully virtual model suits us well,’ OCHIN CEO Abbey Sears said. ‘It allows us to offer more flexibility for our staff and more nimble, regional support for our members across multiple time zones.’
OCHIN spokesperson Jennifer Stoll reiterated to KGW that the decision had nothing to do with the protests.
Jonathan Bach, commercial real estate reporter for the Portland Business Journal, says he’s been observing on the pandemic’s impact on downtown office spaces, and said he hasn’t so far seen a ‘mass exodus’ from the area because of the protests, however that could change.
For now, Bach says he thinks ‘COVID-19 is consuming all the oxygen in the room,’ that’s spurring businesses to leave the area – whether temporarily or otherwise.
He says that though the sale of the OCHIN building is big news, it may become an indicator of better things to come.
‘Less dramatic but almost more telling in this environment story is the sublease space,’ Bach said, adding available subleasing space now still trails the dot.com bubble of the 1990s, and the financial crash of 2008.
‘So those numbers may be a little more telling for offices in particularly and so far at least for the data I've seen, we're doing OK,’ Bach told KGW. ‘Again, you’re not seeing a mass exodus.’
Amid Bach’s optimistic assurances, activists in Portland gathered for an 82 consecutive night in the city on Monday, with a hundreds of protests marching on the Portland Police union headquarters.

Amid Bach¿s optimistic assurances, activists in Portland gathered for an 82 consecutive night in the city on Monday, with a hundreds of protests marching on the Portland Police union headquarters (Protesters pictured on Sunday, August 16)
Amid Bach’s optimistic assurances, activists in Portland gathered for an 82 consecutive night in the city on Monday, with a hundreds of protests marching on the Portland Police union headquarters (Protesters pictured on Sunday, August 16)
While crowd sizes have diminished in the three months since widespread demonstrations began, and since federal officers policing the crowds have made themselves scares, the protests have continued.
The smaller group of activists have geared their ire towards a rotating set of targets that have included police precincts and the Portland Police Association Office on North Lombard Street.
A group of 200 marched on the union building after 10pm. Occasional chants broke out among those gathered and a number were seen spray painting plywood that now surrounds the building.
Police announced over loudspeaker at 11pm that they believed some may be attempting to force their way inside the building and asked the crowd to move back.
Officers learned that someone had broken through a plywood covering and shattered a window, police said. The person also reportedly tried to cause water damage with a hose.
Police released smoke and fired pepper balls to control the crowd, which was met by a bottle being thrown back in their direction.
No one was arrested during Monday’s demonstration, but the weekend was marred with violence.
The sickening moment a truck driver was kicked unconscious by protesters who chased after his vehicle, causing him to crash onto a side walk was captured on Sunday night.
Just blocks away from a black rights demonstration in Oregon's capital, demonstrators hauled a man out of his truck after he crashed it into a tree.
Driver is kicked unconscious in Portland Street during BLM protests
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After the man was knocked out by the kick, other demonstrators came to glower over his motionless body and shout obscenities
After the man was knocked out by the kick, other demonstrators came to glower over his motionless body and shout obscenities 
The man was rushed to hospital after being kicked but there has not yet been an update on his condition
The man was rushed to hospital after being kicked but there has not yet been an update on his condition
He appeared dazed and was bleeding profusely from the head when he was made to sit on the ground and told 'wait for police to arrive.'
The man, who some rioters claimed had driven at them, was then knocked clean out by a vicious roundhouse kick delivered to the back of his head.
As he lay unconscious on the ground, shouts of 'Black Lives Matter' were heard as other protesters attempted to provide first aid.
Drew Hernandez, who filmed the incident on his cell phone, has spoken of his experience of being in Portland on Sunday night, saying 'sometimes it feels like you're walking in a Third World country'
Drew Hernandez, who filmed the incident on his cell phone, has spoken of his experience of being in Portland on Sunday night, saying 'sometimes it feels like you're walking in a Third World country'
Others began ransacking the man's truck and when questioned by others, explained that they were simply 'checking for weapons.'
Drew Hernandez, who documented the incident, said Oregon’s capital currently feels like a ‘third world country’.
Speaking to Fox News, Hernandez claimed the man was possibly defending a transgender woman being beaten and robbed by the protesters, when the group turned their attention to the driver and his female companion.
The unnamed man then got into his truck and drove away as he and the woman became a target, but crashed in the pursuit, Hernandez said.
'I think he just felt extremely threatened,' Hernandez said in an interview. 'They chased him... until he finally crashed. When they finally caught up to him, they went nuts.
'This was violent, extremely violent,' he said. 'Sometimes I forget I'm walking the streets of an American city in the Northwest. Sometimes it feels like you're walking in a Third World county.'
Earlier footage shows the truck parked outside a 7-Eleven, with some rioters kicking it and attacking the man through the window, as others shout, 'He didn't do nothing.'
The man was rushed to hospital after being kicked but there has not yet been an update on his condition.
Elsewhere, authorities said Monday that they are investigating reports that an explosive device was detonated in the downtown area over the weekend.
Shocking moment alleged explosive is thrown at Portland protesters
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Authorities said Monday that they are investigating reports that an explosive device was detonated in the downtown area over the weekend
Residual smoke is seen in the air after a loud bang
Authorities said Monday that they are investigating reports that an explosive device was detonated in the downtown area over the weekend.
The Portland Police Bureau said in a statement that there are reports that someone threw an explosive device on Saturday, possibly in the area of Southwest 4th Avenue and Main Street.
The incident was never reported to police, but a video shared to social media captured a loud bang with what appears to be residual smoke on the street.
‘Black GMC suburban just threw a pipe bomb at us,’ the woman who uploaded the video claimed in a tweet, accompanied by a close up image on the device.
Police Chief Chuck Lovell said on Twitter that investigators are trying to determine what happened.
‘PPB Investigators are actively looking into this case,’ he said on Twitter. ‘If anyone has a first-hand account about what happened or picked up evidence please contact us.’
The incident occurred just hours before a riot was declared in the city as protesters gathered outside a law enforcement early Sunday.
Authorities said people had thrown 'softball size' rocks, glass bottles and other objects at officers. Two police officers were treated at the hospital after being hit by rocks. Eleven people were arrested.

3 comments:

  1. just give everyone a shotgun and blast them niggers on sight

    ReplyDelete
  2. Check it out - not a nigger in sight. Snowflakes larping. A whiff of grapeshot, and they'll all run crying back to their mama's basements.

    ReplyDelete