More Portland tourists complaining about homeless crisis

More tourists complaining about homeless

PORTLAND, Ore. -- The summer tourism season in Portland has been booming in recent years.

“Year over year we're looking at occupancy rates that have gone up three percent in this year compared to 2015,” said Megan Conway, the Vice President of Communications and Public Relations for Travel Portland.

But there is some concern. More tourists are noticing the homeless situation and complaining about it.

If negative perceptions persist, Conway said it could mean bad things for Portland's nearly five billion dollar tourism industry.

“We really are looking at it from the standpoint of a lot of people rely on word of mouth recommendations about where they should travel next and as we've seen an uptick, our hotels have seen an uptick in some of the complaints,” said Conway.

One such complaint from a visitor said the drugs, aggressive behavior, and public urination they saw were too much to handle.

They wrote: "Frankly we were unable to enjoy the great parts of Portland because we were constantly looking over our shoulders and changing to the other side of the street to make sure we were safe."

They said they will not come back and will tell their friends to avoid Portland.

Another person wrote: "I was truly disturbed at the number of homeless people sleeping on the sidewalks and panhandling. My wife and I have never seen anything like this."

Tourists we spoke with had varying opinions.

“[It’s] concerning. I'm not sure why you have so many,” said Jamie Schutt who is visiting from Michigan.

“They don't get in your way. They don't bother you. You can walk past them,” said Amanda Leras who was in town sightseeing from Chicago.

“I’ve noticed it. Mainly it seems like they kind of live in luxury in comparison to Chicago. They have a lot of nice stuff, nice sleeping bags. But yeah, it’s really not bad here,” said Leras’ husband Derek.

For now those in the tourism industry will watch, wait, and continue to share visitors’ complaints with the city.
 

KGW


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