Portland REI to Close Due to Record Number of Break-Ins, Thefts

On Monday, the outdoor fitness retailer REI announced it will close its only remaining store in Portland in February 2024.

The company emailed REI members to explain that the location could no longer guarantee the safety of employees and patrons, the local NBC outlet reported. Other major-chain stores throughout the U.S. have also closed, citing security issues, including a Whole Foods in downtown San Francisco last week and various Starbucks locations last year, including two in Portland.

“The safety of our employees, members and customers is always our number one priority. In recent years, Portland has been dealing with increased crime in our neighborhood and beyond. Last year, REI Portland had its highest number of break-ins and thefts in two decades, despite actions to provide extra security,” REI said in its email.

REI explained that it has now outgrown the Portland Pearl District store. Shoppers will now need to go to the suburbs for their outdoor sporting needs, with locations in Tualatin, Hillsboro, and Clackamas.

Last year on Black Friday, the store was subject to a jaw-dropping theft in which a car was used to break the store’s doors. The local NBC outlet reported that the perpetrator stole clothing before fleeing the scene. In the first ten months of 2022, the number of thefts in the Pearl District totaled 933, up from the 791 reports in the first ten months of 2019. The number of car thefts during those ten months rose from 35 in 2019 to 119 in 2022. Assaults went up from 126 to 197.

While REI will evaluate opportunities for new locations, it does not believe a new site in downtown Portland is likely in the future.

Walmart also abandoned downtown Portland last month, though the company did not cite security issues as the determining factor. It instead pointed to the two Portland locations not meeting financial expectations. One week ago, Walmart announced it would close four stores in Chicago, again citing profitability issues.

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