Readers Respond to Portland’s Toxic Reputation

“No, it isn’t fun worrying about being shanked on my way to work when that wasn’t the case 10 years ago.”

Walking in downtown Portland Walking in downtown Portland. (Alex Wittwer)

Last week, WW examined the toxic reputation of Portland as a hub of crime and squalor, and the fear among political leaders that the city could become a liability for Oregon’s Democratic candidates (“Bad Reputation,” Sept. 29, 2021). Just 45% of Oregonians report a positive impression of Portland to pollsters—its popularity is dwarfed by that of corporate giant Amazon. While conservative outlets like Fox News have played up Portland’s excesses, even liberal office seekers are increasingly wary of being associated with Portland. Here’s what our readers had to say:

Marlo, via “I’ve lived in Portland for almost 30 years. I’ve been heartbroken by the direction the city has gone in the last five years. This is not driven by a news network. People drive down I-5 from other parts of the country and can see for themselves the condition Portland is in. Is this an inviting welcome to visit downtown? Until we can make Portland a safe and sanitary place to come, people will go elsewhere.”

Ashanti Hall, via Facebook: “I’m not mad about it. Keep the racists afraid to move here.”

Barry Goldwater, via “Go live somewhere else for a while and then come back and tell me about how bad Portland is. Honestly, I’ve lived in two of the three largest cities in America, and if half these Portlanders were told to either say something positive about their hometown or live in any other metro, it would take them a day to be rattling off all of the reasons they want to come back. The problem with Portland is all of the complaining and not enough doing. Seriously, even the hobos in Oregon are bougie AF.”

Jessica Panzer, via Twitter: “Maybe it’s time for Vortex II.”

Elijah Alsdorf, via Facebook: “Look, not all of Portland is a gutter and, make no mistake, conservative media outlets have painted Portland in deceptive ways. That doesn’t mean that the entire picture is completely wrong. I work in downtown often. No, it isn’t fun worrying about being shanked on my way to work when that wasn’t the case 10 years ago.”

Deinos, via Twitter: “If so many people think Portland is terrible, then they can stop moving here, buy up all the property and jacking up the housing prices. They can move to Boise, Idaho, instead.”

Seth, via “Portland has become Portlandia on really bad acid.”

PDXBill, via “The question is, are we willing to do what it takes to make a change in a new direction? Many of my friends are answering that question with their feet and moving to the suburbs.”

Loaded Oregon, via “The rest of the state is cleaning out the supply of ivermectin. That should tell you about the common-sense level in the rest of the state.”

LETTERS to the editor must include the author’s street address and phone number for verification. Letters must be 250 or fewer words. Submit to: PO Box 10770, Portland, OR 97296. Email:

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