PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A NE Portland thrift store serving those in need is closing its doors due to continued crime.
Located along NE Sandy and 110th, the shop says while surrounding businesses have also shuttered their doors, they’ve seen everything from arson to theft on the block and it’s dramatically dropped the number of people coming in.
By day, Anniebug’s Attic Thrift Store sells secondhand goods, but behind the scenes, they also operate as the Paying it Forward store — where those in need can come in and get what they need free of charge.
“We started helping here, seven days a week, giving clothes and shoes and coats out to those who are struggling,” said Jim Anderson, owner and founder of Anniebug’s Attic and Paying it Forward. “They’re given five items every two weeks, come in and get free clothes.”
The Paying it Forward venture started in 2015 as an occasional giveaway event before growing into the store. However, Anderson says despite the passion to help people, continued crime and fewer customers are making it impossible for them to go on, adding it feels like they can’t get anyone to listen.
“I’ve reached out to the city, cops, everybody. Nobody wants to help us,” said Anderson. “The crime has gotten so bad out here. Our customers get harassed, the building next door almost got burnt down.”
Anderson says because of crime, fewer customers are now coming in than they were during the pandemic, and revenue has dropped so much that he’s working side jobs just to keep the shop afloat. Now, he says while a difficult decision to make, Anniebug’s Attic and Paying it Forward will have to close next month.
Customers say while they also notice the impact of crime on the neighborhood, they’re sad to see another small business impacted, especially one working to do good.
“The neighborhood has gone so downhill, so much crime, and now they’re going to be leaving and I bring donations here all the time and I come in here probably once a week just to walk around and get something. But it’s really sad they’re leaving because of what’s going on,” said neighbor Tami Young. “People like these guys leave and they’re good neighbors, and I mean, you know, it’s a shame.”
Anderson added that more areas than just Downtown Portland are struggling and feels like the part of the city east of I-205 have been forgotten, hoping city officials will step up and prevent any other businesses from having to close up shop.
Their last day will be Sept. 15, so they’re asking locals to come in before then, whether you’re in need of free clothing or you’re a paying customer wanting to support them. They’re also searching for any non-profits in need of clothing donations that they can give inventory to after they close, and those interested can contact the shop.