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.