PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — With another crowd gathering in Portland Monday afternoon, residents, businesses and attractions in downtown remain on edge in anticipation of another destructive night.
Following last week’s riots, Portland Mayor Ted Wheler said the criminals who continue to vandalize businesses and light fires are anarchists working to destroy the city. On Friday, a church known for serving the homeless community, First Christian Church, was damaged. Moreover, the Oregon Historical Society was vandalized for a second time from rioters who smashed windows and graffitied messages across the building.
OHS Executive Director Kerry Tymchuck told KOIN 6 the damage was depressing and frustrating. He thinks the groups who carry out these destructive acts are hypocritical.
“Why vandalize museums?” Tymchuck asked. “Why vandalize churches? Why vandalize small businesses? To me, there’s no rhyme or reason to it. The fact that they would break windows [at the church] and our windows leaves you questioning what the message is–if there is any message–in their vandalism.”
Cynthia McBride of the First Christian Church said the damage caused by the rioting takes away from the church’s charity work.
“The impact for us largely at this juncture is financial challenge,” said. “The church’s revenue has been impacted because of the pandemic, so we were already struggling”
The National Guard told KOIN 6 it has not been called in to intervene.
In a statement to KOIN 6 News, Mayor Wheeler’s spokesperson Tim Becker said they are working with “Portland Police and other city bureaus, as well as our partners in other public safety organizations such as the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office and Oregon State Police, to protect our city from more destruction. We will intensify our focus on identifying, arresting, and prosecuting the self-described anarchists who engage in criminal activity and inflict harm and damage on the City, businesses and our neighborhoods. We will also continue to find ways to support the employers and jobs that have been harmed.”
Becker added the mayor’s office will have more to say “about a peace compact for community gatherings and our work to lift the voices of those calling for meaningful change” in the coming days.