Siege Notes October 7

Don’t mention the riots. Businesses are abandoning downtown Portland:

Businesses want out of downtown Portland, as soon as possible.

The amount of space available for sublease in downtown jumped by 36% in the spring as tenants sought to vacate offices and storefronts in the early months of the coronavirus pandemic, according to data provided by real estate firm CBRE. Other firms have also reported an increase in the number of downtown businesses looking to leave.

“From all the uncertainty that COVID-19 has created, the downtown market has suffered the most,” said Craig Sweitzer, a landlord and the founder of commercial real estate firm, Urban Works Real Estate.

It is difficult to measure the economic effect of the rioting, with Covid measures providing convenient cover for an already duplicitous press. It isn’t that your downtown is boarded-up, covered in obscene, hectoring graffiti and grotesque street art and beginning to feel a little feral, you see, it’s the damned virus.

Of course area merchants have their own thoughts constituting the buried lede:

Kassab Jewelers was looted after a riot broke out on May 30 following a peaceful protest in the wake of George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police officers. Kassab Jewelers’ downtown location has yet to reopen and its owners are now suing the City of Portland for failing to protect downtown merchants.

Bob Speltz, a spokesman for Portland-based insurance company The Standard, said in August that the company had relocated downtown employees to the suburbs after its office building sustained repeated damage and several employees and security contractors were assaulted near the downtown office. He said The Standard was deeply supportive of a renewed focus on racial justice, but concerned about continued “criminal activity from opportunists not associated with the legitimate protests.”

Rioters and their press supporters scoff at the notion they’re causing economic damage. I hope they’re right. Hell, maybe we’ll turn a profit off this BLM thing!

Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt’s office introduced an online dashboard for tracking riot cases referred to his office.

Over two-thirds of cases referred by police rejected, standing at 666. It’s as if the Devil is mocking us.

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