Portland — like many cities — is currently confronting issues related to social justice, livability and the COVID-19 pandemic. Amid it all, Portland is a safe place to visit. Read on for detailed answers surrounding safety, protests and visitor experience.
Is It Safe In Portland? Answers to Your Questions
Is Portland Oregon safe to visit?
Given isolated incidents of violence at public demonstrations, Travel Portland recommends visitors avoid demonstration areas, which are typically removed from many businesses and attractions popular with visitors to our area. Visitors are unlikely to see signs of the protests that have been shown in national news media.
In response to bad street behavior by people experiencing homelessness, Portland has increased police foot patrols in high-foot-traffic areas and enhanced the Clean & Safe program in the downtown area.
Portland’s rate of violent crime remains lower than the average for U.S. cities of a similar size.
What is happening with protests in Portland?
What about the violence I saw on the news?
We do not condone violence or vandalism. Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler has proposed more tools for investigating protest-related violence and tougher penalties for people caught engaging in violence and vandalism.
What’s it like in downtown Portland right now? Is downtown Portland safe?
Like many other metropolitan downtowns in the United States and worldwide, Portland’s current downtown closures are primarily related to pandemic restrictions. Many offices are mandating remote work for employees, resulting in thousands of fewer people downtown during business hours each day, which then in turn affects other small downtown restaurants and stores. Protests are not a primary factor for downtown closures as most demonstrations have quelled and the protests making headlines in 2020 mostly occurred in a small area of downtown late in the evening while nearly all businesses were closed.
Many downtown attractions, including the Portland Saturday Market, Portland Farmers Market at PSU, Oregon Historical Society and Portland Art Museum are open and welcoming visitors.
Beyond protests, is violence on the rise in Portland? How dangerous is Portland?
Portland’s increase in gun violence is concerning, which is why plans are in place to address it. Most of the reported gun violence and homicides have occurred in neighborhoods away from hotels and business districts popular with visitors.
In December 2020, Mayor Ted Wheeler, Police Chief Chuck Lovell and Office of Violence Prevention Director Nike Greene announced first steps in a new plan to decrease shootings and homicides. The plan includes assigning more detectives to investigate and follow up on shootings, as well as more outreach and hospital-based trauma responders. The mayor also enlisted the Police Bureau and Office of Violence Prevention to submit budget requests that better reflect their needs to respond to gun violence.
Why are there so many homeless people in Portland?
How is Portland addressing police reform?
As of January 2021, Mayor Ted Wheeler — with support from the rest of the city council — has stressed police reform, affordable housing and the vivacity of downtown to be the top priorities of his second term in office.
In February 2021, the Portland Business Alliance, Greater Portland’s Chamber of Commerce, shared a holistic roadmap for economic recovery. The plan includes successfully implementing the new voter-approved police accountability measure, which aims to eradicate institutional racism from public safety agencies.
While the vast majority of demonstrations are peaceful, Travel Portland urges visitors to exercise caution and avoid areas where demonstrations are planned.
Homelessness is a real and visible problem in Portland. Learn about the causes, responses and how you can help.
Our round-up of Portland public safety resources will help you stay informed and safe in case of snow, ice, or other incidents.
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