Asian-owned businesses along Southeast 82nd Avenue are cleaning up from a wave of smashed windows.
In the last week of January, 13 businesses in East Portland, centered in the Jade District along Southeast 82nd, were vandalized and had windows broken. At least nine of the businesses were Asian-owned, according to the Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon.
The vandalized businesses include My Brother's Crawfish, Hanoi Kitchen, Utopia Restaurant and Lounge, and Buddy's Lounge.
Duncan Hwang, associate director of APANO, says there's no direct evidence that the vandalism was motivated by racism—but the high number of Asian-owned businesses hit by vandals suggests a connection. "East Portland's BIPOC- and immigrant-owned businesses are already facing incredible challenges due to the pandemic," Hwang says. "Having to make repairs is an unnecessary challenge making their livelihoods more difficult."
The broken windows occurred shortly after two alleged bias crimes targeting Asians and Muslims, as WW previously reported. In one of those incidents, prosecutors say Peter Eschright, 39, walked up to a 44-year-old Asian American woman and her teenage son on a TriMet bus in Southeast Portland and kicked them both in the shins.
"All Chinese persons have the virus and gave it to us," Eschright reportedly said to the family, according to a probable cause affidavit.
Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, Multnomah County officials said Asian restaurants in the Jade District had experienced a downturn in business due to xenophobic and racist fears surrounding the coronavirus.
Hwang says that APANO is going to help the vandalized businesses pay for repairs and has condemned the acts in a formal statement: "Words matter. The increase of hateful, racist rhetoric targeting Asian Americans during the COVID pandemic creates real harm."