As you are probably aware, Portland is grappling with numerous crises. I grew up in Pendleton, then moved to Portland in 2016. Before 2020, it was one of the most livable cities in America. Then COVID-19 hit.

After the senseless panic-buying died down, downtown was empty. Restaurants closed. Skyscrapers void of office space. MAX trains nearly empty. Homeless camps growing.

At the end of the tragic day George Floyd was killed, downtown came back to life. Not by business travelers and tourists, but massive protests. Most remained peaceful until a black-clad group of anarchists hijacked them. The events became violent and destructive. Even worse, Trump sent his homeland security team here, only to escalate it. The unrest continued over 170 nights. Businesses became boarded up. People were scared away. Graffiti appeared everywhere.

Since then, downtown has slowly improved. However, we still have a small group of "Direct Action" demonstrators who want to destroy our city. The homeless and trash crises remain worse than ever. However, little by little, we are coming together to take our city back. Rioters are going to jail and trash is being cleaned by the city and community organizations. Gun violence seems to be decreasing and new stores are opening downtown.

Portland will survive this dark time. It will just take a lot of patience and effort. I know Portland has fans in Umatilla County. We need you to return and support our businesses. The entire state must help to prevent the Rose City from wilting.

Michael Vescio

Portland

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