Data Directions: Vibrant Central City

Home>Data, Stories>Data Directions: Vibrant Central City

Data Directions: Vibrant Central City

June 2023

Portland’s Central City serves as a hub of employment, regional transit connections, affordable housing, and social services. For decades, Portland’s Central City has been lauded for its vibrancy, walkability, and mix of uses. More recently, continuing challenges due to the pandemic, perceptions of reduced public safety, and the increasing preference toward remote work have reduced the presence of employees and visitors.

Vacancy rates for commercial office buildings have soared since the COVID pandemic began. At the beginning of 2020, office vacancy rates in downtown Portland were at 12.1%. Three years later, rates have increased to 21.2%. Similarly, retail vacancy rates in downtown Portland have doubled from 2.6% to 5.9% by the beginning of 2023.

Central City Vacancy Rates

Despite the challenges present in the office and retail markets, there are positive indications related to the energy and activity happening in the Central City. During the 2023 Cinco De Mayo festival, 84,846 visitors came to Tom McCall Park on the Saturday of the three-day festival. Though visitor numbers were still 15% lower than what was typical before COVID, this was a notable increase of 61% from the previous year.

Cinco de Mayo Visitors

The Prosper Portland Events and Film Office (EFO) is working with an array of public, private, and non-profit partners to bring creative, vibrant, and diverse celebrations to the Central City and throughout Portland. In April 2023, EFO awarded nearly $550,000 in grants to local event producers with the aim of creating economic impact, building community, and increasing diversity, equity, inclusion, and event viability. This year’s awardees represent Portland’s diverse event producers, with 76% identifying as BIPOC, and an estimated $6.67M boost for the city economy. Supporting and engaging in local events and activations are immediate actions the EFO, and its partners, are taking that directly contribute to the vibrancy and recovery of Portland’s Central City.

Related Stories

2023-10-05T10:31:20-07:00June 7th, 2023|Categories: Data, Stories|

Share This Story, Choose Your Platform!

Go to Top