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Man charged with bias crime in vandalism of synagogues, mosque and a Black-owned business

Authorities said Michael Edgar Bivins, 34, targeted two Jewish synagogues, a mosque and a Black-owned restaurant between April 30 and May 4.

PORTLAND, Ore. — A man suspected of vandalizing several places of worship and a Black-owned business during a five-day crime spree in Portland is facing bias crime charges, Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt announced Wednesday. 

Authorities said Michael Edgar Bivins, 34, targeted two Jewish synagogues, a mosque and a Black-owned restaurant called Everybody Eats PDX between April 30 and May 4.

According to the Portland Police Bureau, Bivins was caught on camera smashing a large plate-glass window at the Congregation Shir Tikvah synagogue on Northeast Sandy Boulevard on April 30. The window is estimated to cost over $1,000 to replace. 

On May 1, Bivins allegedly broke a window at Everybody Eats PDX on Northwest 10th Avenue. The estimated cost to replace the window is about $1,800.

On May 2, police said Bivins vandalized the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue on Northwest Flanders Street by spray-painting an anti-Jewish slur on the side of the building in yellow paint.

RELATED: Man charged with vandalizing Portland synagogues, mosque pleads not guilty

The next day, he was allegedly caught on camera setting fire to the exterior of the Muslim Community Center of Portland on North Vancouver Avenue. The DA's office said he poured some kind of flammable liquid on the northeast wall of the mosque and set fire to it.

"Bivins can be seen briefly walking away from the fire and returning with a lit piece of cloth and throwing it in the area where he had poured the fluid," the DA's office said in a news release. 

On May 4, Bivens returned to the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue and allegedly threw a rock through a window of a school connected to the synagogue, police said. The estimated cost to replace the window was over $1,000.

That same day, he walked into the Fox 12 news station in Beaverton asked to speak with a reporter. The reporter said Bivins made anti-Semitic remarks and "indicated he was involved in the crimes against Shir Tikvah, Congregation Beth Israel Synagogue, Muslim Community Center of Portland, adding that he would brake the window of any Black-owned or minority-owned business," the DA's office said. 

He said he would return to the news station on May 6 to continue discussion but instead was taken into custody that day. 

Following his arrest, Bivins admitted to speaking with the reporter but said they had only discussed "the economy and President Joe Biden," the DA's office said.

RELATED: Multnomah County DA launches public dashboard tracking bias crimes

Bivins is facing five counts of second-degree bias crime, five counts of first-degree criminal mischief and one count of first-degree arson. He pleaded not guilty to some of his charges on May 9. 

Earlier this year, DA Schmidt's office released a dashboard to track bias crimes in Multnomah County. The dashboard shows there were at least 129 bias crimes involving 218 victims between July 2019 and April 2022. 

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