Friday, June 6, 2008

What Will $5 Gas Do To The Portland Area?

I skipped this story from the Portland Tribune a few weeks ago but with gas expected to reach $5.00 a gallon next month I thought it would be good to look back at what people were feeling when gas was at $3.75.

Throughout Multnomah, Washington and Clackamas counties, people are worried about the economy, worried about the region, worried about their own family budgets. And responding — in overwhelming numbers — by changing how and where they spend money.
And more people think that things are going to get worse than better over the next two years.
“I’ve never seen an issue come out of nowhere like this issue has,” says Adam Davis.
But today, people are suddenly worried about the skyrocketing costs of daily life — especially in buying food and gas. At the same time, Davis says, they worry about stagnating or declining values of what was once, for homeowners, a center of wealth: their houses.
“It’s a bit of a perfect storm,” he says.
Here’s an idea of how stormy, according to the poll:
• 76 percent of the poll’s respondents believe the nation is in a recession. Another eight percent believe the nation will enter one within the next six months.
• 61 percent of the poll’s respondents believe the region is in a recession. Another 12 percent believe the region will enter one within the next six months.
• 80 percent of the poll’s respondents were “somewhat worried” or “very worried” about the region’s economy.
• And 36 percent of poll respondents listed “the cost of things like food and gasoline” as either the “biggest issue” or “second biggest issue” facing families in the region today. For years, Davis says, that number remained at fewer than 10 percent of poll respondents.
“I haven’t seen anything like this — this quickly — in 30 years” of polling, he says.
And Portland-area residents are changing how they live their lives in response to the economy, the poll found.
• Three-quarters report they drive less to save on gasoline costs.
• Two-thirds report they “eat out” less and “bargain shop” more.
• And more than six in 10 are turning down the heat in their homes or cutting back on “entertainment and recreational activities.”