PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – After the break-in at the historic Phoenix Pharmacy building in southeast Portland on Monday, owners of neighboring buildings detailed the crime they are seeing and told KOIN 6 News they are being overlooked by the city.
George Morlan Plumbing has been around for nearly 100 years in Portland, and Foster Fitness has been in the area for more than three decades. The businesses are enduring perpetual crime, but they say it should not have to be this way.
“This is the first neighborhood I grew up in and grew up behind the store,” George Morlan President Alex Kramien said.
Kramien is the fourth generation to run the original George Morlan store on SE Foster.
“I’m really proud of it. I’m a staple of the community here,” Kramien said.
This year has been painfully expensive as time after time criminals are breaking hundreds of feet of his windows or busting through doors to steal merchandise.
“It’s gotten worse all around Portland. But, you know, this neighborhood seems to be taking the brunt of a lot of the problems; and whether it’s the homeless, the crime and the overall gradual decline of the area, it’s been a big struggle for a lot of local businesses and for the people that live here,” Kramien explained.
Across the street at Foster Fitness Center, the owner says the everyday impacts are exhausting.
“Homelessness is crazy. They’re, running amuck. They chased my daughter, they’re trying to break into all the neighbors,” Foster Fitness Center owner Noel Fuller said.
Businesses, he says, have reached a boiling point and need the city to respond.
“I’d like to see them get out of town, no tents, no anything, get them a place to stay in, if they don’t want to stay? To get them out of town,” Fuller said.
Addressing the lack of policing and accountability are businesses top priorities.
“I think some of the recent legislation and policies of prosecution has created some unintended consequences that have resulted in inviting the problem to our city,” Kramien said.
Policies that businesses say the city needs to reevaluate in order for true revitalization to happen.
“I think everybody that has a stake in this community needs to really make their voices heard and also we need to hear alternatives and take an honest look at some of these the laws that have been passed and how things are being enforced,” Kramien said.
They say its time to take the politics out of the discussion because real lives and livelihoods are on the line.
This kind of crime is also very costly. For example, George Morlan told KOIN 6 News that so far in 2022, they have spent $150,000 repairing damage, stolen goods and adding more security.
KOIN 6 News reached out to the mayor’s office for his thoughts.