Portland, Oregon has experienced a notable decrease in its population in recent years. It has become known as one of the most politically progressive cities in the country, but there are conservative voices that claim its policies have contributed to a rise in crime and homelessness.
Out of the largest cities in the nation, Portland ranked sixth in terms of population decline from 2021 to 2022. This decrease in residents also resulted in an overall population decline for the state of Oregon during the same time frame.
After experiencing rapid growth for many years, Portland was considered one of the swiftest expanding cities in the United States. Nevertheless, statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau indicate that the city encountered a decline of nearly 20,000 residents between July 2020 and July 2022.
The city has faced a significant surge in criminal activity, with the overall count of homicides nearly tripling between 2019 and 2022.
In 2022, Portland witnessed a record-breaking number of killings, with 101 murders, marking the highest figure in the city’s history. Additionally, there was a more than threefold increase in shootings, surpassing 1,300 incidents in 2022.
Property crime has also experienced a notable rise, as burglaries alone escalated by 20% in the previous year. Within the period from November 2021 to November 2022, the city encountered close to 6,500 burglary cases.
The Portland Police Bureau faced substantial deficiencies in staffing, according to their reports.
In 2020, as part of the broader ‘defund the police’ movement, the city of Portland implemented significant reductions in its law enforcement budget. However, after a year had passed, Mayor Ted Wheeler (D) advocated for a notable increase in the city’s police expenditure.
The city is also grappling with one of the most severe homelessness rates in the country. Portland experienced a rise of approximately 20% in its homeless population between 2022 and 2023.