PORTLAND, Ore. — The Portland police said earlier this week that ongoing protests had cost businesses in the downtown area $23 million in property damage and lost revenue, but those figures are skewed by just one business — a mall already shut down by statewide coronavirus closures, a newspaper reported Friday.
The Oregonian/OregonLive said the statistic came from the Portland Business Alliance, which surveyed its membership last month. Ninety-three of the 5,300 contacts who received the survey responded.
Almost 90% in reported damages and lost business came from one respondent, which reported $2.5 million in property damage and $18 million in lost sales. The newspaper says the Pioneer Place mall is the only place that could post those numbers because of its size, but it didn’t reopen until June 19 — the day after the alliance’s survey ended.
The remaining businesses reported a combined $2.3 million in damages amid the first three weeks of demonstrations. Seven businesses reported $407,000 in lost revenue, but many respondents noted that they were already closed because of COVID-19 restrictions and attributed their lost sales due to the demonstrations as $0.
The Portland Business Alliance would not confirm or deny the respondent that reported the largest loss was Pioneer Place. The lobbying group said the survey was conducted at the request of city officials, including from the mayor’s office, to help quantify damages caused to downtown businesses during the demonstrations.
“This was a voluntary survey,” said Amy Lewin, a Portland Business Alliance spokeswoman. “It is not scientific and not the most fully accurate account of losses. It’s the floor or first check of estimates. We know more losses have occurred since.”
Rachel Wille, a spokeswoman from Brookfield Properties, which owns the downtown shopping center, wouldn’t say if Pioneer Place participated in the business alliance survey and that the company doesn’t publicly disclose its revenue.
Pioneer Place was among the businesses heaviest hit on the first night of protests in downtown Portland amid the national outcry over the police killing of George Floyd in Minnesota. Footage of people breaking into a Louis Vuitton store inside the mall and leaving with items on May 29 went viral.
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