The combination of COVID-19 and riots is taking a toll on downtown Portland’s business base, and one of the city’s major employers, Standard Insurance, is not being quiet about it.
Around 2,000 employees used to work out of Portland-based Standard Insurance’s office building, but now the building is sitting empty and employees who need an office are working out of its nearby Hillsboro campus, Portland news station KGW reported.
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“Our downtown properties have sustained significant vandalism and a number of employees and contractors have been assaulted in recent months,” a Standard Insurance spokesperson told local TV station KGW, adding that “current disruptions and unsafe conditions in the neighborhood” have affected the situation.
Demonstrations that often turn violent have racked Oregon’s biggest city for more than two months following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Police have declared a riot in Portland amid ongoing protests over racial injustice.
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The Multnomah County Building was set on fire and vandalized, said county commission chair Deborah Kafoury, the Oregonian/OregonLive reported. There was damage to a lobby where protective equipment against the spread of the coronavirus is distributed, she said. The riot was declared Tuesday night outside the building, police said.
Standard Insurance’s spokesperson said the company is committed to downtown Portland “assuming conditions in the neighborhood improve,” KGW reported.
Meanwhile, national health care nonprofit OCHIN announced last week it’s selling its 40,000-square-foot office space in Portland as employees go remote permanently. An OCHIN spokesperson told KGW that unrest in Portland had nothing to do with the decision to sell the building bought for $14 million in 2017.
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FOX Business’ inquiry to Standard Insurance was not immediately returned.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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