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Portland taqueria owner wants to help revitalize Old Town

The owner of Fabo's Tacos is opening a second location in Portland's Old Town. He hopes it's a step towards helping bring the area back to life post-pandemic.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Fabo's Tacos, a popular Portland window taqueria, has announced it will open a second location in Old Town this weekend. Fabian Rosas, co-owner of Fabo's Tacos, said this new location is intentional. He's trying to help revitalize Old Town. 

Rosas specializes in mouth-watering birria tacos among other dishes. His second location will open at 1 p.m. on Sunday, March 5.

He told KGW he remembers visiting and admiring Old Town in his early 20s and he’s aiming to help bring it back to what it once was.

"This area is not dead. It still has a lot of potential to return to what it used to be," Rosas said. "I remember on Saturdays when we would walk to the Saturday market. I remember we had the flower shop there off of Couch and 4th."

The pandemic hit Old Town hard and it left businesses no other choice than to close their doors or relocate. But Rosas hopes other businesses follow his lead and think about the future this part of town could have once again. 

"You know, people say there is drug use and stuff like that but you see that everywhere," Rosas said. "I feel like people kind of take time to point the finger at Old Town but it's not as bad as people think it is."

Here’s a look at some crime stats from Portland police pre-pandemic compared to the past two years. 

Credit: KGW

On the surface, it's kind of surprising to see. Not much has changed in Old Town in the numbers for assaults, property crimes and drug offenses. But there has been an uptick in homicides. And reports of drug offenses have actually gone down.

But here's why it feels like there's more crime than ever, but it's not showing up in the numbers. Back in 2019, Portland had 1,001 sworn police officers. Portland is now down to 802. 

All in all, fewer cops means fewer crime reports filed.

And as to why drug offenses supposedly plummeted in 2021, Measure 110 went into effect, decriminalizing small amounts of hard drugs.   

For the most part, other businesses KGW spoke with agree with Rosas, including Levi Martinez, the co-owner of Orox Leather Co. off Couch and 5th. 

"I definitely think that things are moving in the right direction," Martinez said.

Orox Leather Co. has been at its Old Town location for the past 10 years. Martinez said they've seen their fair share of changes in the past decade, but remains optimistic about Old Town’s future.

"Even in Old Town, with everything that's been going on and all the bad news about it, we have seen a lot of people come into our shop and making the trip," Martinez said.

"Everyone around us, our business neighbors, have been so helpful," Rosas said. "I feel like everyone is on the same page here, trying to bring this area back to life like it used to be."

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