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Southeast Portland music store makes big changes after break-ins

Burglars have broken into the nonprofit Artichoke Community Music four times since June.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Burglars have broken into Artichoke Community Music four times since June.

The nonprofit musical instrument store, on Southeast Powell Boulevard in Portland, is making some permanent changes to adapt.

Burglars have been smashing the front door and windows to get into Artichoke. Each time they have taken instruments and other merchandise.

Executive Director Paul K. Ward started with Artichoke Music in June, about when the break-ins started. “It's expensive for us," he said. "It takes money out of our pocket. it's a big deal for us. Half my time has been spent dealing with the downside."

Ward doesn't want to put bars on the windows. He says that would make the building feel like a fortress to visitors. But they have to do something.

They've devised a system they're installing over the windows this weekend. They are using plywood and metal that are decorated with posters.

Ward is hopeful that customers will still like the more secure store. “When they arrive, they're going to feel like they're going to be participating in the incredible legacy of the Portland music scene through Artichoke Music, but anybody who wants to break in is going to look at the way we constructed this and they're going to say. 'Absolutely nothing I can do about getting in this place anymore.'"

Artichoke Music is 49 years old and going strong. Ward said they are looking at a bright future despite the recent challenges they've faced. 

They did get some good news this week. After the burglary last Saturday someone left some instruments on a neighbor’s porch. Turns out the instruments had been taken from Artichoke Music and have now been returned.

“We do this because this is important to do," said Ward. "All these break-ins do is redouble our commitment to what Artichoke is all about -- making sure people have as much joy through music in their lives as they possibly can."

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