A story says that the adventure gear company REI plans to close its Portland store early next year because of a record number of thefts and break-ins.
In an internal email that the Seattle Times got a hold of, REI said that its store in Portland’s Pearl District “had its highest number of break-ins and thefts in 20 years, even though the store took steps to make it safer.”
In the email, the company also said that it had “outgrown” the site, which had opened in 2004, and that the building needed “significant investment” to fix problems that were not mentioned.
Megan Behrbaum, a spokesperson for REI, told the local paper that the company spent hundreds of thousands of dollars last year to make the Portland store more secure. However, the store still had a lot of break-ins, including a shocking one on Black Friday when a car crashed through the glass doors.
The Seattle Times said that this scary event was the store’s third break-in in just a week.
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Behrbaum said that after the event in November, the company talked with the cops and spent more than $800,000 to improve security in 2022.
The store’s windows were replaced with security glass, private security was hired 24/7, and a video trailer was set up at the loading dock of the Portland store, according to the paper.
“Yet, we still had 10 break-ins,” Behrbaum said. “One of them shut down our 14th Street entrance for more than two months.”
She said that the company can’t pay for more security when the extra security hasn’t stopped thieves.
A local newspaper says that more than 150 people work at the Pearl District store. When the store closes next year, full-time workers who lose their jobs will get retirement money.
It’s not clear if REI will open another store in a different part of Portland. The company’s only comment about the city was that it was “evaluating opportunities” there.