Protestors gather outside of the Columbia Sportswear flagship store on December 2, to oppose new restrictions on sidewalk use.
Protestors gather outside of the Columbia Sportswear flagship store on December 2, to oppose new restrictions on sidewalk use. Doug Brown

Sponsored
Shop Unique this holiday & support local business!
Discover & support PDX's best emerging brands! Shop outdoors in a safe, socially-distanced pop-up.

Sorel's staying put—for now.

More than three months after Columbia Sportswear CEO Tim Boyle invoked safety concerns and threatened to pull the footwear subsidiary's headquarters from downtown Portland, a Columbia spokesman tells the Mercury there are no plans to move.

"The response from the community has reassured us that together, we can find a solution to the challenges that face businesses and individuals downtown," reads a statement the company sent us today. "We look forward to further dialogue and are pleased to confirm that we have no intention of immediately moving our SOREL office location."

The announcement comes 106 days after Boyle penned an op-ed in the Oregonian bemoaning car breakins and unsettling interactions his employees had in downtown Portland, and saying the company was "taking the next 90 days to re-evaluate our location decision."

As we reported in this week's paper, the announcement so thoroughly freaked out Ted Wheeler that he texted the head of the Portland Business Alliance that he'd do "whatever it takes" to keep Sorel downtown. “This story is NOT the final takeaway we want for the holiday season," the mayor's November 14 message read.

The weeks after Boyle's op-ed brought controversy. Our story last week showed Wheeler's office responding by pledging to outlaw sitting on sidewalks during the day in a wide swath of downtown. But when the mayor's office created such "no-sit zones" outside Columbia's flagship store and on several other blocks in November, protestors accused the city of serving big business at the expense of the destitute. A demonstration outside of the Columbia store in early December forced the business to close for the day.

Columbia's terse statement doesn't specify what led to its decision, saying only "we're encouraged by the solution-oriented dialogue that has resulted."

Support The Portland Mercury

Here's the whole thing.

In November 2017, out of concern for the safety of our employees and the general public, we made public our intention to re-evaluate the downtown location of our SOREL headquarters. We're encouraged by the solution-oriented dialogue that has resulted. The response from the community has reassured us that together, we can find a solution to the challenges that face businesses and individuals downtown. We look forward to further dialogue and are pleased to confirm that we have no intention of immediately moving our SOREL office location.