PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Owners of a restaurant in Portland’s Parkrose neighborhood say they’ve been vandalized three times within the last month — and they’re not the only place dealing with the ongoing issue.
Businesses in the neighborhood say vandalism and burglaries have been ongoing problems that won’t seem to end. Meanwhile, residents continue to ask what city leaders are doing to help.
KOIN 6 News reached out to Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler’s office on Wednesday to ask just that.
In a statement, the mayor said his office is working with public safety partners to increase staffing at the Portland Police Bureau, as authorities have stated they don’t have enough personnel to investigate these types of crimes.
“Rising retail crime is continuing to set Portland businesses back, many of which are still rebounding from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Wheeler’s office said. “Business break-ins, theft and vandalism is unacceptable, especially at the rate described in the Parkrose neighborhood,”
Find the full statement at the bottom of this article.
One couple recently opened Pho Le Nguyen on Northeast 109th Avenue and Sandy Boulevard. They say just a few days before the restaurant’s grand opening, someone shattered one of the windows — which cost them $2,000 to repair.
Since opening the restaurant on February 14, their windows have been smashed two more times. Those two windows are still boarded up because the owners, who are Vietnamese immigrants, tell me they cannot afford to pay out-of-pocket repairs that total nearly $7,000.
A customer at the restaurant, Sonceerahray Miller, has lived in the Parkrose neighborhood for nearly three decades. She says the current state of things is disheartening.
“[The owners] are just trying to make a living, they’re just trying to make their way here and have their families and have a business,” Miller said. “Twenty years ago, you wouldn’t see this stuff happening — not like it’s happening now.”
Just a few blocks away, the manager at Parkrose Hardware echoed the same sentiments, saying theft is an everyday occurrence. The store now has metal fencing on the doors and windows to prevent burglaries.
According to data provided by the police bureau, vandalism has increased in the Parkrose neighborhood by 71% in the last three years compared to the previous three years.
Full statement from Mayor Wheeler’s office regarding crime in the Parkrose neighborhood:
“Rising retail crime is continuing to set Portland businesses back, many of which are still rebounding from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Business break-ins, theft and vandalism is unacceptable, especially at the rate described in the Park Rose neighborhood.
We’re working with our public safety partners to increase staffing at the Portland Police Bureau so they can ramp up retail theft missions, respond more quickly to emergency calls, and bring those responsible to justice. My team and PPB have met with businesses in Park Rose to troubleshoot specific problems in addition to the broader efforts to address safety more generally.”
The City Council also recently voted to increase Business Repair Grant funds which help businesses recover from break-in and vandalism incidents. The Mayor has also dedicated additional staff members to focus on economic recovery across the City.”