PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Business owners in Portland’s Hawthorne District spent their Thanksgiving cleaning up graffiti and windows smashed by vandals in the early morning hours.
Portland police said they came across a group of people damaging more than 10 businesses around 1 a.m. along SE Hawthorne Boulevard between SE 41st and 33rd avenues. Most of the graffiti was about Thanksgiving, colonizers and capitalism. Many profanities were spotted as well.
Several business owners worked to clean up the mess on Thanksgiving Day. Some were painting over the graffiti or scraping it off of storefront windows.
“It’s a day to be thankful — unfortunately, things like this happen and that’s not going to deter me from being thankful for a lot of things in this world,” said one business owner whose building was vandalized. “Am I frustrated? Yeah. Am I disappointed? Yeah. Am I annoyed? Yeah. I just wish that people who spend time vandalizing or spray painting or doing any sort of destruction would spend their energies towards trying to change the things that they are feel are unjust in a positive way.”
A woman passing by told KOIN 6 News the damage is “just sad.” Meanwhile, Bill Levesque, the president of the Hawthorne Boulevard Business Association, was out on Thanksgiving afternoon to help business owners with the cleanup.
“It’s been a tough year, the damage here is horrible and these businesses are trying to survive,” said Bill Levesque, the president of the Hawthorne Boulevard Business Association. “There’s a lot of emotions around a lot of issues, it’s sad and so impactful to these businesses just trying to make it day-to-day.”
Levesque estimated the damage to some businesses to cost thousands of dollars.
“There a lot of people who have dreams just like everybody else and they go and start businesses that we can all visit and enjoy,” said Levesque, who urged people to support small business owners by shopping local.
KOIN 6 saw graffiti on Wells Fargo, Chase Bank, Umpqua Bank, Starbucks, Mo Beri, New Seasons, Fred Meyer, Portland Cider House, Powell’s, Seven Virtues Coffee Roasters, Twill, and more.
Police said they arrested three people but suspected more people of being involved in the destruction:
- 24-year-old Chester Hester, ten counts of Criminal Mischief I.
- 38-year-old Nicole Noriega, ten counts of Criminal Mischief I.
- 23-year-old Bailey Willack, ten counts of Criminal Mischief I.
Jail records show all three suspects had bonded out by Thursday evening.
KOIN 6 News has reached out to Mayor Ted Wheeler’s office for comment.