Shortly before he lost reelection last November, Donald Trump warned Americans that Democrats would make the nation “look like Portland”, Oregon.
“The entire city is ablaze all the time,” he lied.
At the time, Portlanders and others responded on social media with bucolic images of the Portland skyline, tree-lined streets dotted with Craftsman bungalows, and the greenery of Laurelhurst Park. But the chaotic and troubling image of the liberal Pacific Northwest enclave has now begun to prevail with locals weary from eighteen months of violence and vandalism on the city’s streets.
Portland’s DHM Research conducted a poll amongst state residents which found that just 45% of Oregonians have a positive impression of Portland. That’s a major contrast to PNW powerhouse Amazon, which boasts 70% positive impressions. Outside the Portland metro area, just 35% of Oregonians view the City of Roses positively. Within the metro area, it’s better—53%—but that means barely half of the people living in or near Portland actually like Portland. Multiple public opinion professionals point to the protests, a rise in murders, and the increase of homelessness and trash downtown during the pandemic as factors that shaped national and state perceptions.
Police have responded to our newspaper office after an altercation involving Proud Boys and a bystander
A flag wave is happening today to protest Pamplin Media Group, publisher of the Portland Tribune and 20+ newspapers pic.twitter.com/jlqva7mSeC
— Zane Sparling (@PDXzane) October 2, 2021
Portlanders are unlikely to change their minds anytime soon, especially after a new federal report released on Friday revealed that “poorly trained staff and improper procedures” were among the multitude of issues plaguing a U.S. Department of Homeland Security team tasked with collecting intelligence and background reports during the 2020 protests in Portland. Trump had ordered then-DHS head, Chad Wolf, to dispatch their own military force to patrol the city in the wake of the nightly Black Lives Matter protests that took over Portland.
Portland, Oregon pic.twitter.com/tTvOAoU9jo
— “Teach”🏴Special Education Bloc (@BlocSpecial) October 2, 2021
The reports, coined “baseball cards” by officials, according to the review, were on people who were arrested by federal authorities in connection with the protests although many charges were unrelated to issues of national security, such as trespassing or failure to comply, the internal review revealed.
On August 22nd, white nationalists attacked Portland and our Mayor and police did nothing.
The text messages from Ted Wheeler for that weekend are here: https://t.co/pmhxxVaHyP
— Public Record And Data Archives (@PRADAPDX) October 3, 2021
Oregonians strongly believe the state is headed in the wrong direction, and polling shows that is largely driven by negative perceptions of what’s happening in Portland. The city’s image also isn’t being helped by the recall effort for its beleaguered mayor, Ted Wheeler, who’s been mostly ineffectual in his role when it comes to keeping the city’s streets free from violence brought into the city by outside agitators such as the Proud Boys.
Portlanders: We want police reform, affordable housing, climate action, and a city that works for all of PDX, not just the rich people.
Ted Wheeler: NASCAR is coming to Portland! https://t.co/2VY3pY2uiP
— Lazy Leslie Knope (@LazyKnope) September 30, 2021