REI, a well-established outdoor outfitter, has announced the closure of its only store in Portland, citing increased crime, theft, and break-ins as primary reasons. This comes after Walmart’s recent decision to pull out of its last two stores in the city. REI’s closure in Portland is especially concerning, given the city’s abundance of outdoor activities and opportunities.
REI, a cooperative with a history dating back to the 1970s, has always been a go-to store for outdoor enthusiasts. However, in recent years, the safety of employees and customers at the Portland store has been jeopardized due to rising crime rates in the area. Despite taking measures to provide extra security, the store experienced its highest number of break-ins and thefts in two decades last year.
With crime statistics believed to be underreported, the situation in Portland has reached a critical point. Policies that have decriminalized shoplifting and drugs have created a perfect environment for such activities to thrive. The closure of REI’s Portland store serves as another blow to the city, which has already witnessed Walmart’s exit.
While REI acknowledges the potential market in Portland, the company has made it clear that it will not be considering a downtown location in the near future. The closure is expected to take place early in 2024, and it marks the end of REI’s presence in the city since its first Oregon store opened in 1976.
This development highlights the impact of rising crime and inadequate security measures on businesses in Portland, and the need for improved policies and stronger leadership to reverse the city’s current trajectory.
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