Portland Protesters Vandalize Youth Charity

Portland protesters set fire to a building / Getty Images
April 21, 2021

Protesters caused $20,000 in damage to a Portland youth charity building during a protest for racial justice on Monday night.

Members of the crowd, which took to the streets the day before a guilty verdict was handed down in the case of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, smashed windows and doors at the Boys & Girls Club in Northeast Portland.

Boys & Girls Clubs of America is a national charity organization offering after-school programs for young people. The Northeast Portland affiliate serves mostly black and minority children, according to the Oregonian.

Terry Johnson, CEO of the Portland-area Boys & Girls Clubs, told the Oregonian that he sympathizes with protesters but called on them to protect local organizations and businesses, including the Boys & Girls Club.

"We ask protesters to make sure they're considering our mission and the work we do in Black and brown communities, because our mission work is part of that protest," Johnson said. "When we damage businesses locally it has a direct impact on the local economy, and it impacts jobs for this community as well. We need to protect and care for the community instead of tearing it down."

The Boys & Girls Club closed Tuesday to undergo repairs. Protesters vandalized other businesses Monday night, damaging an ATM and smashing windows at a Popeye's restaurant, a U.S. Bank building, a grocery store, and a Subway restaurant.

Police arrested two women, both 27, on criminal-mischief charges in connection to the demonstration.

Portland saw months of violence and rioting in the summer of 2020, amid a wave of calls to defund the police following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Attacks on a federal courthouse, police buildings, and local businesses caused millions of dollars in damage. Local black leaders criticized violent protesters and said property destruction distracted from the cause of racial justice.