PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — For nearly a decade, Ghaith Sahib and his family have been serving Portlanders their authentic Middle Eastern cuisine at DarSalam. Like everyone, they’re just trying to make a living.
“We love it here. They accept cultures. They accept us as immigrants. They will accept us here as refugees,” Sahib told KOIN 6 News. “So this has become second home to us.”
Just as they put up a Christmas tree inside their downtown location, 320 SW Alder, the holiday spirit came crashing down and they were left to pick up the pieces.
This weekend a burglar broke in, ripped open their cash register and left with liquor. Sahib said this latest invasion cuts deeper.
“This is our house. It’s a business, yes. But actually we work here as a family almost 12 to 14 hours a day,” he said.
DarSalam is not alone. Just a few blocks away, Raven’s Manor cocktail bar recently reported at least 5 of their windows were broken in a one-week period. Across the street, Serra Cannabis Shop reported 5 instances of vandalism, including multiple broken windows in the last month.
The small businesses are reaching a boiling point. Sahib is calling on Multnomah County and city leadership to get a grip on this.
“We don’t ask for much. We ask for change,” he said. “From the mayor to the governor, they have to do something, especially in downtown Portland. Enough is enough.”
The elected leaders, he said, “have to take care of the small business owners. We are the people that bring life to the city.”
Gems like DarSalam just want to continue the tradition of bringing vibrancy to the Rose City. The 2 main things Sahib said he’d like to see from the state, the county and the city is getting the homeless inside organized places for them to stay immediately.
And he wants to see a greater police presence in the downtown area. Sahib said he’d feel much safer if there were more officers visible protecting their properties on a regular basis.