The world isn't ending. It just feels that way.
Certainly, for Oregon businesses big and small, the past two weeks have felt like the apocalypse. Overnight, the rapid spread of coronavirus turned out the lights at bars and restaurants across the state, and any store, service or attraction that thought it could continue to operate like normal quickly found out that "normal" no longer exists.
It's too premature to assess the long-term damage, but the early indications don't look good. Giants like McMenamins and Powell's have laid off nearly their entire workforce, and the Portland Art Museum reported it will lose $1 million a month for the length of the shutdown.
It's a scary time. But it's in the darkest moments the soul of a city shines brightest.
To put it another way: Necessity, it's said, is the mother of invention—and in Portland, people are inventing like motherfuckers.
In this issue, we've captured snapshots of 10 local businesses adapting on the fly to stay afloat during the pandemic. Some of the adjustments are small but impactful, such as the nightclub throwing virtual dance parties on YouTube, or the record store owner spending his nights dropping vinyl records on customers' porches. Others are complete 180s: You may have already heard about the strip club that rebranded as a food delivery service, and received national attention.
Each case is an example of the scrappy nature of this city, and a glimpse of the independent verve that has long defined Portland.
Stability is a long way off. With the governor implementing further restrictions this week, some of the businesses in this issue are already being forced to pivot a second time. But there's hope that many of them will continue to adapt, and find creative ways to survive—because it's what we do here.