"Welcome Back to the Heart of Portland!" kicks off this weekend and will include free concerts, pop-up markets, sing-alongs, roller skating and light displays.
"My hope is that we get back to the most important thing and the most valuable thing about our city, and that's the people," David Jackson, the official DJ for the NBA's Portland Trail Blazers said, according to FOX 12 in Portland.
Monique Claiborne, president and CEO of Greater Portland Inc., said it’s not about the city going back to the way it was, "but really we're one step closer to imagining a future city that's inclusive and prosperous."
Wheeler tweeted about the event Wednesday and received more than a little criticism from all sides in the comments.
"Who is providing armed security?" one person wrote while another said, "Sad to hear that our mayor fell out of love with Portland right when we needed him."
"Who is providing armed security?"
A third person commented, "My god, imagine being this disconnected from reality. Your city is facing an environmental and humanitarian crisis of epic proportions, but my[sic] all means let’s all just roller skate. PDX’s shared hatred of city leadership gives me a modicum of hope, though."
Portland’s once vibrant downtown was ravaged during the pandemic, with many stores forced to close as the virus worsened, leaving the streets empty.
Police and Black Lives Matter protesters clashed almost nightly for several months last year as crime spiked around the city.
Wheeler acknowledged the uptick in violent crime in the city last Saturday following a deadly shooting in the area.
"We have clearly a gun violence problem in our community, we have a homicide problem in our community, and the community should expect that we will have adequate resources," Wheeler said in a news conference with Portland police Chief Chuck Lovell, according to FOX 12. "That's the tools, the training, and personnel to be able to address the growing problem around gun violence and homicides in our community."
Nearly 300 Portlanders participated in an event to clean up the streets on Wednesday, but some still aren’t sure the city is ready for its "reopening," KATU-TV of Portland reported.