Deep pessimism about the Portland region remains, the annual business survey finds

Deep pessimism about the Portland region remains, the annual business survey finds

Most Portland-area voters remain pessimistic about the region’s quality of life and are concerned about ongoing issues such as homelessness, crime and downtown safety.

There is also a growing perception that taxes are too high and economic opportunities too low among residents in Multnomah, Washington and Clackamas counties.

Those are among the findings of an annual survey of likely voters commissioned by the metro area’s most influential business organization.

Figures released Thursday by the Portland Metro Chamber found that 78% of voters surveyed in December think their quality of life is getting worse, the same percentage as a year ago.

Fifty-one percent believe the Portland region is on the wrong track, down just one point from the 52% who expressed that opinion at the end of 2022.

That sentiment is especially pronounced in Multnomah County, where 69% of voters surveyed said their county was headed in the wrong direction, compared to 40% in Clackamas County and 34% in Washington County.

“It’s a very sharp picture of where people are at this moment in time,” said pollster Michelle Neiss of Portland-based DHM Research.

However, sentiments have improved significantly from 2021, when 88% said their quality of life was getting worse and 62% thought the Portland region was on the wrong track.

DHM Research conducted the latest survey from December 13 to 19. Pollsters interviewed a representative sample of 500 voters in the tri-county metro area, including 250 of Portland.

The poll was weighted to accurately reflect voters’ age, gender and political party and had an overall margin of error of 4.4 percentage points. Portland’s city-specific results were accurate to within plus or minus 6.2 percentage points, DHM said.

Homelessness and crime continue to be top concerns among metro area voters, with 40% and 19%, respectively, citing them as the biggest issues facing the region.

Concerns about drug use and addiction more than doubled from a year ago to 16%. A total of 10% of respondents said affordable housing was their biggest concern.

Fewer people are also stepping foot in downtown Portland, with 30% of city residents and 55% of those living in the rest of the tri-county saying they hadn’t been downtown even once in the past 30 days. previous. A year ago, these figures were 28% and 46%, respectively.

Meanwhile, 81% of likely voters in the region say they feel somewhat or very unsafe in downtown Portland at night, while 55% feel that way during the day.

The stream of troubling statistics comes even as Portland has seen a significant reduction in crime, an increase in downtown traffic and increased efforts to get people off the streets and into shelters, housing and addiction recovery.

“There are definite signs of progress,” said Jon Isaacs, executive vice president of public affairs for the Portland Metro Chamber, formerly the Portland Business Alliance. “But at the end of the day, we have to respect the perspective that the residents of the region have and understand that we are in for a long time until voters and taxpayers start to feel that change.” We’re not there yet.”

Other notable survey findings:

*49% of tri-county voters said they were worse off than a year ago, up from 38% a year ago. Those who said they were better fell to 15% from 18% in 2022.

*69% of all voters surveyed believe taxes are too high for the level of services they receive in return, compared to 21% who believe current tax levels are good enough. These figures in 2022 were 60% and 30%, respectively.

*Current support for a homeless services tax in the region is 48%, compared to 47% opposed. The measure was approved in 2020 with nearly 60% of the vote.

*When it comes to the Multnomah County Preschool All Tax, voters only narrowly favor the tax, 51% to 45%. Nearly 65% ​​of county voters approved that tax measure in 2020.

*55% of Portland voters continue to support the city’s 1% tax on large retailers to fund clean energy and climate projects, compared to 41% who opposed. Sixty-five percent of city voters approved the tax in 2018.

See more of the survey findings here.

John Maher, president of Oregonian Media Group, is a volunteer board member of the Portland Metro Chamber.

— Shane Dixon Kavanaugh; 503-294-7632

Email [email protected]

Follow on Twitter @shanedkavanaugh

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