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Portland to Offer Grants to Small Businesses Damaged in Riots

Federal law enforcement officers face off with rioters in Portland, Ore., July 21, 2020. (Caitlin Ochs/Reuters)

Small businesses in Portland, Ore. that have been damaged in riots over the past year will be eligible to receive up to $10,000 to help cover the cost of repairs.

The Portland City Council on Wednesday approved $250,000 in new grants aimed at mending broken doors, damaged storefronts, and graffiti-scarred buildings, according to OregonLive. Businesses that were damaged during the civil unrest that has plagued the city since March 2020 can apply, a spokesman for Prosper Portland, the city’s economic development agency, told the outlet. 

Other small businesses in need of immediate repairs to signs, windows and exteriors can also apply.

“We want to be flexible with these dollars and help a broad range of businesses impacted around town,” said Prosper Portland spokesman Shawn Uhlman.

Portland has already given more than $720,000 to 135 businesses through a fund created to assist with repairs amid the coronavirus pandemic and the ongoing riots.

Rioters have continued to ransack the city for nearly a year: just last week demonstrations against fatal police shootings resulted in busted windows, splattered paint and fires throughout downtown Portland and other commercial districts.

Rioters have also inflicted nearly $20,000 in damage on the Boys and Girls Club in Northeast Portland, which offers services to mostly black and brown children and families, according to Oregon Live. 

Mayor Ted Wheeler blasted the destructive demonstrators on Tuesday, calling them a “group of 100 or so largely white, self-described anarchists who engage in the criminal destruction of our economy and our confidence.”

“These people are not protesters. They are criminals,” Wheeler said. “Their actions harm our workers, their families, all of us. They stand in stark contrast from those who stand for meaningful change and racial justice that is sorely overdue.”

The City Council on Wednesday also reallocated $150,000 for extra graffiti removal across the city, according to the report.

The move comes after nearly a year of unrest in the city has taken a steepening financial toll on the city: in February, U.S. Attorney Billy Willians told OregonLive that the cleaning and repair of federal buildings in the city as a result of protests in the city last summer alone cost $2.3 million.

Just the first few months of protests in the city cost an estimated $23 million in damage and lost business in downtown Portland, the city’s deputy police chief said in July.

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