TOP TREND 2023, OFFICE BUILDING BUST: OREGON’S LARGEST CITY LOSING POPULATION

Portland Oregon Police Cars

Portland, Oregon’s flagship city known for being clean and safe and for its hip vibe, watched its population swell by 23 percent during this century’s first two decades.

Now, from 2020 through 2022, it has lost about 3 percent of its population—roughly 19,500 of its 650,00 people—as officials have been unable to stem the rise of homelessness and serious crime.

The city was sixth in population decline among the 50 largest U.S. cities.

Meanwhile, Portland’s home prices have remained higher than in many other parts of the U.S.

Many cities have seen residents move away since the COVID War began. People, particularly remote workers, moved farther away from city centers where property often was cheaper and offered more space.

Portland had long been known as safe, averaging only 21 killings annually from 2000 through 2019. That number leaped to 92 in 2021 and 101 in 2022.

Following George Floyd’s 2020 killing at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer, Portland erupted in protests, sometimes violent, that went on for more than a month.

Many downtown storefronts are still boarded over. Open drug use on city streets has become common, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The city government has added police and banned daytime homeless camping on sidewalks, so far to little effect.

“It never felt unsafe before,” a neurosurgeon whose wife was chased down their upscale residential street by a homeless person told the WSJ. “The character of the city has changed.”

TREND FORECAST: Portland is just one of the many cases of an Office Building Bust that we had warned when politicians shut down economies and prohibited people to go to work when they launched the COVID War in 2020. The loss of commuters and the plunging value of office buildings is slashing city governments’ revenue, resulting in the loss of public services and, ultimately, the quality of life downtown.

Cities are entering a downward spiral in which the loss of municipal revenue makes cities less desirable places to live, prompting more people to move elsewhere, reducing municipal revenue even more.

We were the first to forecast the downshift in urban economic structures in our ongoing series of articles, such as: 

● “Commercial Real Estate in a Tailspin” (20 Oct 2020) 

● “Deloitte Abandons More London Office Space” (26 Apr 2022) 

● “GM Softens Back-to-the-Office Requirement After Worker Backlash” (4 Oct 2022) 

● “Business Office Bust Begins to Bite” (20 Dec 2022)

● “New York City’s Workforce Sharply Shrinking” (24 Jan 2023) 

● “Office Occupancy Half of What It Used to Be” (7 Feb 2023)

● “The Commercial Real Estate Face-Off” (28 Mar 2023) 

● “Price of Hedging Interest Rates Wallops Office Landlords” (9 May 2023)

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