PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A swastika carved into the bathroom mirror of a popular restaurant in Southeast Portland has unsettled the restaurant’s owners.
Kachinka has been serving Russian-inspired food for nearly five years on Southeast Grand Avenue.
But Saturday’s discovery of a swastika literally carved into its bathroom mirror was a first for the restaurant.
Co-owner and chef Bonnie Morales, whose parents fled the Soviet Union decades ago, told KOIN 6 News the symbol is a reminder that antisemitism is a problem that still exists today.
Morales said her parents came to the U.S. to escape oppression.
“They came to this country to be able to be Jewish and not suffer for it,” she said.
For Morales, the fact that someone could enter her restaurant, eat within its walls and still leave behind such disturbing vandalism is “unsettling.”
“I think people almost expect it a little bit more now which is so incredibly unnerving,” said Morales.
Morales said she was hesitant at first to publicize what had happened inside her restaurant. But she ultimately decided to shed light on the incident and used Facebook to spread the news.
“It’s so important to not normalize this and to not sweep this under the rug,” Morales said. “We all have to be up in arms anytime anyone does anything hateful like this.”
The swastika has been removed from the restaurant.
Morales said she filed a report with the Portland Police Bureau but that officers weren’t calling the incident a hate crime. She said she also reported the vandalism to the Anti-Defamation League.
Meanwhile, Morales had a message for the person responsible.
“You clearly have a lot of hurt in you that hasn’t been handled and I’m very sorry for that and I hope you find a way to make peace with that,” Morales said.