PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — After two weekend nights of violence and vandalism in North Portland, residents and business owners were left with a mess to clean up on Monday. Many residents in the neighborhood are people of color who are concerned that the Black Lives Matter message is being negatively impacted by violent acts.
Not only have the protesters moved from downtown to North Portland, so has the vandalism and graffiti. It has created a difficult situation for people who live and work in the neighborhood.
Robert Dorris lives directly across the street from the Portland Police Association building. He said he lost a family member to police violence in California and has mixed feelings over what he has witnessed from his living room over the past few nights.
“I don’t like the destruction, but I like the attention being brought to police brutality—that’s a good thing,” said Dorris.
When rioters attempted to burn down the police union building on North Lombard Street Saturday night, neighboring business owners looked on with concern and worried that their own shops might burn. Praveena Prased runs a yoga studio and nutritional store just steps away from the PPA building. She said nearly all of her customers are people of color who support the protests but not the acts of violence and destruction.
Fortunately, her small business was not seriously damaged after two riots were declared over the weekend, but several buildings in the area had some glass broken and were tagged with familiar obscenities that mark the federal courthouse downtown.
Some Portlanders spent Monday helping the cleanup effort after driving by and seeing the mess that was left in front of some homes. Among them was one woman who has also attended several Black Lives Matter protests. She asked to not be fully identified.
“I think it’s my duty just as much to come out and march at night as it is to keep my community clean,” she said.
Folks in the neighborhood said they support the Black Lives Matter movement, but their frustration is growing over the acts of destruction, with the main concern being that the messages about deep-seated racial issues in the community will be drowned out or dismissed by the vandalism.