"Portland, a metropolitan area of 2.2 million people, affords an ideal window onto the spiral of fear and diminished expectations assailing the economy. The area has long attracted investment and talented minds with its curbs on urban sprawl, thriving culinary scene and life in proximity to the Pacific Coast and the snow-capped peaks of the Cascades. In good times, Portland tends to grow vigorously, elevated by companies like the computer chip maker Intel — which employs 15,000 people in the area — and the athletic clothing giant Nike.
Friday, March 27, 2009
The New York Times profiles my second favorite city, using the scaled back expansion plans of its famous book store as a microcosm of the nation's economic woes:
But in recent months, Portland has devolved into a symbol of much that is wrong. Housing prices have fallen more than 14 percent since May 2007, according to the S.& P./Case-Shiller index. Foreclosures more than tripled last year, according to RealtyTrac. The unemployment rate for the metro area surged from 4.8 percent at the end of 2007 to 9.8 percent in January 2009, according to the Labor Department."