Portland businesses boarding up ahead of election day

Your Local Election Headquarters

"I hope nothing happens tomorrow and I can take my boards off"

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Although law enforcement officials said there is no known threat to election security in the Portland area, businesses throughout the city are taking precautions to protect property and employees.

A sign in a downtown Portland business on Election Eve, November 2, 2020 (KOIN)

Businesses throughout downtown Portland boarded up windows on Monday and posted signs that they’re closed on Election Day. Places like Whole Foods in the Pearl District were boarded up. Over in Chinatown, some were even adding an artistic touch to the plywood that covered storefronts. Farther south, the owner of Mayas Taqueria was putting up the board himself.

“The business has been here in downtown Portland for over 33 years,” said owner Carlos Maldonado.

Many businesses downtown have kept their boards up from when they were first installed during summer protests, but Monday was Maldonado’s first time doing so.

“People around here are scared about tomorrow,” said Maldonado.

While there is still a lot that is undetermined, he said he’s hopeful that businesses won’t be impacted more than they already have been.

“I don’t want to live scared, so I hope nothing happens tomorrow and I can take my boards off,” said Maldonado.

Downtown Portland businesses boarded up their windows in anticipation of protests about the election, November 2, 2020 (KOIN)

There is an increased law enforcement presence outside the Multnomah County Election Offices, including deputies and officers from the Port of Portland and Gresham police. Those officers will keep their eyes open for any attempts at intimidation or interfering with voting.

Unified Joint Command on protests

Earlier Monday, Gov. Kate Brown announced a Unified Joint Command for election security in Portland through Wednesday with the Oregon State Police and the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office in charge. Additionally, Brown said the National Guard is on call for whatever events may develop.

Late Monday afternoon, the Unified Command said they were aware of a “direct action” planned to begin at Director’s Park in downtown Portland at 8 p.m. Over the course of the months of protests, a “direct action” event has often escalated into violence and confrontation.

Officials said they support “peaceful public assembly” but that the First Amendment “does not protect or allow for criminal conduct.”

Around 9 p.m. dozens of people had gathered at Director’s Park and from there, marched to the Portland State Campus Police Building.

Then people broke in.

Minutes later, police declared an unlawful assembly in the campus area.

KOIN 6 News will have more information as the night develops.

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