The cleanup efforts mounted after Thursday night’s protests in Portland have erased some — but not all — of the damage left behind by vandals who broke storefront windows, scribbled graffiti and ignited fireworks.
The largely peaceful crowd of some 4,000 people took to the streets to speak out on a wide range of issues, including the election of Donald Trump. As the evening progressed, however, what appeared to be a small subgroup of self-described anarchists began to wreak havoc.
Steve Stevenson, whose wife owns Seres, a restaurant on NW Lovejoy Street that was damaged, said they weren’t done boarding up windows and cleaning up glass until 2 a.m.
About seven patrons were dining in the restaurant when the protest came over the Broadway Bridge at about 9 p.m. Thursday, Stevenson said as he stood inside the empty restaurant Friday morning.
“The door was smashed out with a baseball bat, and then as [the protest] progressed, a rock came through a window here at the front,” Stevenson said. The spray of glass hit diners and the restaurant’s bartender, who was standing some 30 feet away from the impact. Seconds later, someone threw a brick through another window.
Nobody was hurt, but everyone was in shock, he said.
“One of our servers was in tears,” Stevenson said.
The Pearl District was far calmer by mid-morning Friday. Passersby took photos of the plywood-covered storefronts peppering the street. Stray bits of glass glinted in sidewalk cracks.
One of those taking it all in was Julie Donaldson, who has lived in the neighborhood since 1999.
“It just breaks my heart,” Donaldson said of the vandalism, as she looked up and down the street.
“My friends that I walk with, we’re upset that Hillary didn’t win, but Trump is going to be the president.”
“All of this,” she said, gesturing to the boarded-up windows, “doesn’t help at all.”
“This isn’t Portland. This isn’t Oregon. We do peaceful demonstrations,” she said.
Portland Mayor Charlie Hales echoed Donaldson’s sentiments in a news release issued Friday morning.
“Riots and violence in our streets are completely unacceptable. I hope that all Portlanders will help our local small businesses recover,” Hales wrote. “I know in Portland we are a community that believes love conquers hate — let’s be that example for the nation.”
Portland’s Resistance, which organized the rally and march, has already raised more than $30,000 through GoFundMe to “repair damages done to small and local businesses.” Group spokesperson Gregory McKelvey said the organization also sent out volunteers to help clean up.
“Unfortunately, despite our requests to stay peaceful, a group of agitators began vandalizing property alongside our march,” the group wrote on the fundraising page.
The group held a sit-in Friday night outside Portland City Hall.