Saffron Colonial draws protests over name

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PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Among the towering new housing projects that line North Williams Avenue sits a restaurant that has become a focus of controversy for some.

It’s so new there isn’t even a sign hanging in front of the Saffron Colonial.

Inside the Saffron Colonial on North Williams Avenue in Portland, March 24, 2016 (KOIN)

Last Saturday, owner Sally Krantz came out from the kitchen and saw about 30 protesters outside the restaurant’s front door. Protesters seized on the word colonial in the restaurant name, saying it glorified racist destruction of cultures subjected to colonialism.

“One woman was screaming at me about the Native American issue, somebody else was screaming at me about the fact that this whole area is gentrified and I shouldn’t even have taken the premises and that nobody should be living in this area,” she told KOIN 6 News.

Inside the Saffron Colonial on North Williams Avenue in Portland, March 24, 2016 (KOIN)

Krantz, a French-trained chef, said she has no agenda and there’s no racist intent in the restaurant name. There’s Colonial Williamsburg, colonial architecture, she pointed out, and said she’s just trying to sell food.

“I found it surprising and I found it also a bit strange that none of these people live in the area and they are expressing outrage on behalf of a group that they are not part of.”

She said it feels sort of like an episode of “Portlandia.” She said she’s had a vast majority of people say they support her she’s all ears to a new name — but so far protests from last weekend have not affected revenue.

Inside the Saffron Colonial on North Williams Avenue in Portland, March 24, 2016 (KOIN)

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