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Portland bar raises money for workers after SUV smashes into building

Capitol Bar in NE Portland is now closed, and its owners said repairs could take months.

PORTLAND, Ore. — A popular bar and restaurant in Northeast Portland is raising money to support its staff while it repairs damage from a crash into the building over the weekend.

The Portland Police Bureau (PPB) said just before 5 a.m. Saturday, someone crashed an SUV into a minivan. The SUV, which PPB said had been stolen earlier in Gresham, ricocheted into the front of Capitol Bar on Northeast 15th Avenue and Broadway.

Surveillance video from the inside showed glass flying into the bar. A short while later, video showed someone crawling through the broken windows, stealing bottles of alcohol behind the bar and running out. PPB told KGW that two suspects fled the scene. As of Monday morning, no suspects have been arrested or identified, PPB said.

"Kicked when you're down," said co-owner Kevin McDowell.

PPB told KGW that officers could not respond until about five hours after the crash because of other priority calls. However, no one was reported hurt, and Capitol Bar was thankful no one was inside.

"We could've been in business, and someone else could have been hurt," McDowell said.

McDowell and his partner Dessiree Guy showed KGW a support beam inside now being used to hold up part of the building. The bar is closed for repairs, and they said repairs could take months.

"Gonna be a pretty huge project," McDowell described.

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The building is owned by someone else, and insurance will likely cover the damage. However, Capitol Bar and its staff face uncertainty during the wait to reopen.

McDowell and Guy set up a GoFundMe page to help staff who can't work in the meantime.

"Our cooks and everybody rely on those wages for their families," Guy said.

The couple and co-owners plan to rebound and maintain momentum.

"Very proud to say that it's women owned, Black owned, couple owned," Guy said. "Gives people hope."

With thousands of dollars already pouring in, the couple expressed gratitude to the community.

"We love the people that come in here," McDowell said.

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