PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Portland police are looking for a burglar who busted up a 100-year-old building, originally known as the Phoenix Pharmacy building, on Monday.
Matt Froman is considered a local hero in the Foster-Powell neighborhood for taking the old Phoenix Pharmacy building, which had sat vacant for 20 years, and bringing it back to life. It’s been a labor of love and Froman’s passion project for the last decade.
But after putting the finishing touches on the project last month, he is now dealing with the aftermath of the burglary, which resulted in cash stolen from tenants and thousands of dollars in damages.
“It’s seriously been the hardest project I’ve ever done in my life,” Froman said. “And to actually have it up and alive to have it up and fully occupied for a month, to then get a phone call from one of your tenants saying, ‘hey you gotta get over here something happened,’ is a true gut-punch.”
To get past the locked doors, the burglar busted through every single wall to steal from the small businesses.
Froman also found a stolen U-Haul left at the back side of the building, which he says the burglar used to climb onto the roof.
“They got onto our neighbor’s roof, onto our roof, and pried it open where they got into the building,” Froman said.
The general manager at the U-Haul on SE 50th and Powell confirmed their surveillance video caught a man stealing that very U-Haul truck from their lot Sunday night.
Froman says that he wants to roll up his sleeves and fix this and not let the bad guys win.
“I’m definitely one of those long-term Portlanders that’s very sad with the way the city has been turning,” Froman said. “My goal is to not let this deter me from a better day tomorrow and the following day.”
Froman is finishing up installing his camera and security system, and he encourages other small businesses to beef up their security too.