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Recent increase in gun violence pushes some Portland businesses to temporarily close

Breakside Brewery closed its pub on Northeast Dekum Street for the weekend for the safety of their staff.

PORTLAND, Ore. — With 15 homicides and 99 shootings, this past July was Portland's deadliest month in 30 years. That sort of violence has a ripple effect. Some businesses in Northeast Portland are now temporarily closing or changing their hours to stay safe.

The sign on the front door of Breakside Brewery is clear, the business is temporarily closed, but not because of the COVID-19. Managers said the Northeast Dekum Pub will be closed through the weekend for the safety of their staff because of the recent events in the Woodlawn neighborhood.

A 22 year-old-man was shot and killed on Northeast Dekum Street on July 28. Police said the very next night, somebody who was visiting his memorial was shot in the leg. Locals said Breakside isn't the only business to temporarily close.

Credit: Christelle Koumoue
Breakside Brewery temporarily closes NE Dekum location

Despite surrounding closures, the Woodlawn Neighborhood Farmers Market, did not hesitate to reopen. 

"Woodlawn market is here to serve the community and that is our main goal, our main objective and we will continue to do that, " said market board member Vanessa White.

Some residents were surprised to hear about shootings in their neighborhood. Oretha and Phillip Johnson have lived in Woodlawn for more than 20 years. Johnson said she knew there was some violence back in the day, but she never heard of any gun violence in recent years.

"By the time we moved here, that wasn't going on. So, we are really surprised and would really would like for it to stop."

The couple has been a vendor at the market for several years now and they don't plan on changing that anytime soon. 

"I would still say it is a great neighborhood, even though the shooting has happened, but that does not really represent the neighborhood," saidJohnson. 

Police have not made any arrests in the two shootings that happened on Northeast Dekum Street last month.