While Portland, OR officials play nice, businesses face insurance woes

portland mayor
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler.

Fox News is reporting that “An activist group that organized an eviction blockade in Portland said Sunday the family who previously owned the so-called Red House, on Mississippi Ave., has reached an agreement with Mayor Ted Wheeler, and the heavily fortified barriers preventing access to the neighborhood would come down.”

At the same time Wheeler is making nice with protesters, Fox Business is reporting that some Portland-area businesses “have reportedly been left with no choice but to find new insurance companies or pay significantly higher premiums following months of civil unrest, looting, and vandalism in parts of the Oregon city.”

The Portland Oregonian recently headlined a report about this “Insurers balk at covering Portland businesses; brokers say downtown upheaval has made carriers wary.”

This comes after more than eight months of unease in the city that saw “more than 100 days of civil unrest” that sometimes turned into riots in the downtown area following the death of George Floyd in custody of police in Minneapolis, Minn. President Donald Trump even sent in federal officers to protect the federal courthouse.

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The Fox News report about Wheeler’s promise to the family that owns a home now occupied by protesters that the so-called “Red House” will not be raided, provided barricades are taken down by Monday evening.

Fox News used a quote from Jessica Getman to the Oregonian. Getman is president of Brown & Brown Northwest Insurance, and her take on the situation was blunt: “The civil unrest and riots that have occurred have put Portland on the map. We’re talking about insurance carriers that not only have a footprint here in Oregon, but nationally, and many are based outside of Oregon. So, they are seeing all of this heightened awareness of crime and damaged buildings over the news. That has made carriers more sensitive.”

The situation in Portland may not have a happy ending. Combined with restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic, this year has been hard on many small businesses and even some big ones.


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