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Chair's Blog

Downtown Portland reigns in the holiday season November 2015
By Mitch Hornecker, Howard S. Wright

Downtown Portland is welcoming the beginning of the holiday season with lights, Pop-Up Shops and a variety of promotions for downtown shoppers. This is a prime time of year for retailers and restaurateurs, and thanks to the Clean & Safe District and our partners at the Downtown Marketing Initiative, holiday programming in downtown Portland creates the festive shopping experience of a healthy and vibrant central city.
And, when you come downtown, you are probably going to see knit sweaters on some of Portland’s most iconic statues. This is our popular “yarn-bombing” promotion, where local artists create fun and sometimes ugly holiday sweaters for downtown statues. One of our favorites is a striped number worn by “Allow Me,” the umbrella man in Pioneer Courthouse Square. Over the next few weeks, we hope to grab pictures of local celebrities joining the umbrella man with a matching holiday sweater, which we will post on social media for everyone to enjoy. For every photo of someone wearing the matching “Allow Me” sweater, we will make a donation to Transition Projects to help them serve homeless individuals. But you can get into the act by putting on your favorite ugly holiday sweater, taking a photo and posting it on social media with #uglysweaterPDX.
By popular demand, Pop-Up Shops are back for the sixth consecutive year. Started during the hardest recession years, the Pop-Up Shop program activates empty storefronts with local entrepreneurs, allowing us to support local talent and emerging retail entrepreneurs. The Pop-Up Shop program creates new jobs, temporarily activates vacant storefronts and encourages shoppers to seek out unique local gifts during the holiday season. Like last year, our Pop-Up Shops are in the Old Town/Chinatown neighborhood at 428 NW Broadway, where three local vendors – Field Notes/Draplin Design Co., Folk, Stubborn Stiles and Omiyage - will sell their goods under one roof. Our other Pop-Up Shop, Omiyage, is located nearby at 341 NW Fifth Ave.

For the past six years, we have been working closely with the city of Portland, our partners in the Clean & Safe District and Travel Portland to reinvigorate and revitalize downtown Portland to ensure it remains the premier shopping destination in the region. Downtown’s retail vacancy rate remains at a low 5 percent, and this year we have more than 40 new retailers downtown, representing a mix of national and local stores.

Downtown Portland is truly the place to celebrate the holidays; I encourage you to take advantage of all it has to offer during this season. For information on holiday events and happenings, visit
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