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Police: Damage done by some during otherwise peaceful demonstration

Portland police made one arrest, and are still investigating instances of vandalism they say occurred during marches around downtown.

PORTLAND, Oregon — Damage caused during abortion rights rally in downtown Portland marred an otherwise peaceful event Tuesday evening.

The damage was not as widespread as some instances in the past, but any damage is tough for a downtown trying to make a comeback. This time there was graffiti and broken glass, and some burning items thrown at the Mark O. Hatfield federal courthouse in downtown Portland. 

If you look at the early part of the demonstration for abortion rights, many might consider it a fine example of free speech in action. But police say later on, during marches around downtown, some in the crowd took advantage of the situation.

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And there's the graffiti and broken glass to prove it. You can see the damage to a Starbucks in pictures provided by Portland police.

Hardest hit was The Portland Exchange, a small grocery and café connected to a new Hilton-owned hotel. Vandals broke out several windows there Tuesday night. Those windows were boarded up Wednesday and the business closed, waiting for repairs.

Claudia Brown has seen this story many times over in Portland.

“I don't like it at all ... and the way I think — which is probably totally wrong — I think these people have to be from out of town because people from Portland can't possibly act like that,” said Brown.  

This much is for sure, any extra damage is not what downtown businesses need right now.

The Portland Business Alliance (PBA) and others say downtown has been mounting a comeback, and things are better than they've been.

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But the PBA and Downtown Portland Clean and Safe released a statement, saying in part, “Nothing could be more demoralizing and hampering to our collective recovery than the actions of a very few that happened after peaceful demonstrations last night."

The leader of the Downtown Portland Neighborhood Association thinks police are too understaffed to handle the bad actors in the crowd.

“Unfortunately, those that escape being accountable for their actions may feel they can return sometime later and do it again... Completely unacceptable," wrote Walter Weyler, chair and president of the Neighborhood Association.

This is a city that, on a fairly warm and sunny spring day, has a lot going for it — from the farmer's market in the park blocks, to a sunny spot for a lunch break in Director's Park.

One downtown worker told KGW that, despite what sometimes happens at night, downtown is a great place to work. Boarded up windows don’t mean they’ve all been broken.

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“A lot of people seem to be scared of that, but a lot of it’s preventative, not indicative of damage behind those boards, and if you spend time down here during the day it’s just a normal city,” said April Stricker.

The Portland Bureau said it made one arrest Wednesday night. Luke S. Anderson, 31, was booked into the Multnomah County Detention Center of charges of Reckless Burning and Disorderly Conduct in the Second Degree.

PPB asks that if you have any information, pictures, video or other evidence that can help them investigate acts of vandalism, to email crimetips@portlandoregon.gov and reference case number 22-117206.

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