Pandemic, protests a double blow for Portland businesses

Multnomah County

Just as businesses were set to reopen, protests closed them again

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — First the pandemic, then the protests. Small shops and restaurants in downtown Portland have been dealt a double body blow over the past few months.

Stevens-Ness, which supplies legal forms, office supplies and furniture, has been in business since 1920. Owner Elizabeth McDougal said they’re just trying to make it through the COVID-19 closures.

“We’ve been in business for 100 years. We started out all excited to celebrate our 100th anniversary, then things went south with, first the coronavirus and then the protests,” McDougal said.

Stevens-Ness in downtown Portland, June 4, 2020 (KOIN)

Located just a block from the Justice Center, her store is in the heat of the intense protests. So far her store has been spray painted but spared from more serious damage.

“Monday was our first day open to the public and then Tuesday the fences went up and we couldn’t even get in to do business,” she said.

Other small businesses like Classic Collection Hats are clearly struggling. Signs in the window show they’re closed due to both the pandemic and the protests.

The owner of Beard’s Framing told KOIN 6 News the combination of the pandemic, protests and the homeless crisis convinced them to not renew their lease in downtown Portland. They’re packing up their shop now and will leave when their lease ends in July.

Stevens-Ness has been in her family for 3 generations and she hopes to pass this longtime local shop down.

“I just encourage people to shop local and we’ll get through it,” McDougal said. “I don’t know if we’ll be around for another 100 years, but the first 100 were pretty good.”

Continuing Coverage: Coronavirus

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