Multnomah County, which encompasses Portland, Oregon, faced significant economic losses as residents fled the state in response to rising crime, homelessness, and safety concerns during the pandemic. Data analysis conducted by Oregon Live revealed that 14,257 tax filers and their dependents left Multnomah County in 2020, taking with them a record $1 billion in income.
The exodus was more pronounced among higher earners, as many of them could work remotely during pandemic-related shutdowns. The average income of the departing residents was 14% higher than those who left the previous year. This sudden departure reversed Portland’s previous 15-year streak of growth.
The economic decline coincided with a surge in crime in Portland, culminating in the city breaking its homicide record in both 2021 and 202The homeless crisis also worsened, with reports of increasing homelessness and crime associated with it. Portland’s business owners expressed deep concern over the state of the city, citing a lack of protection or recourse against unchecked criminal behavior.
The situation didn’t seem to improve in subsequent years, as Portland lost an additional 8,308 residents from July 2021 to July 2022, earning it the sixth position among cities with the most significant resident decline during that period.
The current state of Portland has left some long-time residents feeling as if the city they once knew no longer exists. Mayor Ted Wheeler’s office did not provide immediate comments on the matter.