Citing Crime Wave, REI Packs Up Its Tent in Portland

An REI in Seattle, Wash. / Getty Images
April 18, 2023

The only REI store in Portland, Oregon, will close early next year, the Seattle Times reported Wednesday, with the camping gear company citing the far-left city's crime spike as the main reason.

Last year, REI Portland "had its highest number of break-ins and thefts in two decades, despite actions to provide extra security," prompting the closure, the company said in its announcement. REI spokeswoman Megan Behrbaum told the Times that crime is "overwhelming [security] systems in place" even after company representatives met with Mayor Ted Wheeler (D.) over "concerns for the safety of our employees, members, and customers."

The Portland store's crime problem came to a head last November, when a car crashed through the REI's glass front door, the Times reported.

REI's statement comes only days after a Portland coffee shop announced its sudden closure, with employees saying they "feel unsafe" in the crime-ridden city. REI is far from the only company to shutter stores in a Democrat-run city, however. Whole Foods last week closed its "flagship" location in San Francisco over rampant crime and drug use, while Walmart shut down four Chicago stores on the same day that the Democratic Party announced it will hold its 2024 convention in the Windy City.

All of these cities have embraced left-wing "criminal justice reform" in recent years. While Wheeler's office told the Times that it is working "to find ways to address crime," the mayor has embraced "criminal justice reform" goals such as putting "in place a progressive … Police Reform Action Plan," emphasizing "deescalation and bias training," and sending crisis workers rather than police officers in response to 911 calls.

While REI is "evaluating opportunities," it does "not believe a downtown Portland location is a possibility in the near future," KGW8 News reported.

Published under: Crime , Oregon , Portland