PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Businesses and residents in the Pearl District are voicing their concerns after an online post called for a “direct action march” Saturday night.
Jim Rice, who owns the Fields Bar & Grill at NW 11th and Northrup, supports peaceful protests. But after months of watching some people vandalize the city he said many people are worried.
“The biggest concern is we are going to see businesses going to get damaged, people possibly getting hurt and ultimately making everyone fearful during that protest,” Fields told KOIN 6 News. “My questions have been: Do I have to invest $30,000 to $40,000 to turn around and board up our business? What do I have to do to protect ourselves in a time frame where we just don’t have that kind of money anymore?”
Nobody knows for sure what will happen. But many businesses are considering boarding up. Property managers and building owners are arranging for extra security and they’re asking residents not to let strangers into the buildings.
“We’ve been spending the money just to try to survive. Now we have to spend money because somebody’s going to have this group get together,” Fields said. “This is wrong. We ultimately need this thing to fix.”
Portland police officials said they were aware of the online flier and will respond to any criminal activity.
“It’s advertised as a march so it’s hard to predict who may be impacted,” PPB officials said in a statement to KOIN 6 News. “We’ve been in conversations with businesses and residents. We encourage anyone who observes criminal activity to call the police.”
The Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office said in a statement to KOIN 6 News that they “will continue to work with law enforcement to identify, investigate and prosecute criminal conduct.”
KOIN 6 News also reached out to Mayor Wheeler’s office, but they had no comment.
Jim Rice said the situation is frustrating.
“It’s been going on for 9 months. When is the strategy going to get implemented? When does it end?” he said. “We ultimately need to come together and deal with this problem.”