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Some see increase in customers, while several temporarily closed during a march against racism

COURTESY PHOTO - Clackamas River Growlers remained open but boarded up their storefront as a precaution during a recent march against racism.

Though several locations were temporarily closed, multiple business owners on Main Street said discussion of a march against racism on social media raised more concerns than the event itself.

"The march itself was great. I was happy to see something like that happen here," said Paul Strobel, whose State Farm insurance office is at 352 S.E. Main St. "Then the rumors started mounting up, and that's when I got nervous as a business owner. … I got a lot of questions from customers about whether looting and vandalism was included in their insurance policy."

The STAND UP Movement hosted a march against racism on Friday, June 26, during which participants walked down Main Street from Estacada High School to City Hall. An additional event is planned from 5-8:30 p.m. Friday, July 17.

Deputies from the Clackamas County Sheriff's office were present at the June 26 event and said they responded to one verbal argument but had no reports of other incidents.

In the days leading up to the march, dialogue and concerns on social media were prevalent.

Donnell Evans of Yo Treats said that she made the decision to close the frozen yogurt shop at 401 S.E. Main St. June 26 because of online reactions to the event, rather than as a result of the march itself.

When she initially saw the news that the march would be occurring, she "wasn't concerned at all."

"I figured the march would be peaceful. The Saturday demonstrations have been very civil, with no issues," she said. "Except for, as the day progressed, there was a lot of arguing and hatred online. By 11 p.m. (on Monday), we made the decision to close."

Though Chapman's Three in One Station remained open that Friday, employees said traffic in the area being blocked led to a significant decrease in business for several hours.

"I'm glad it was a peaceful protest, but I would rather it didn't take away money from our business," said Tiffany Moore, an employee of the gas station 376 S.E. Main St. "But as long as they keep it peaceful, I don't see a problem."

Mark Long of Clackamas River Growlers, 367 S.E. Main St., boarded up his shop front as a precaution but remained open.

PMG PHOTO: EMILY LINDSTRAND - Participants in a march against racism make their way down Main Street in Estacada.

"I saw comments from each side on Facebook that caused me to be nervous. I believe people intended to be peaceful, but it's unpredictable what might happen," he said. "I'm happy everything was OK. It was a peaceful march with no violence. … The next day I checked, and nothing had been broken or vandalized. I was very happy to take down my boards."

Tanley Dickson of Clackamas River Outfitters, 194 S.E. 4th Ave., said she wasn't concerned about property damage from the march.

"I don't think folks trying to advocate and deal with systemic racism would degrade their movement by doing something like that," she said. "It's an important and necessary movement. People don't want to detract from that by (participating in looting and vandalism)."

Financial impacts of the march and the discussion surrounding it varied. Evans estimated that Yo Treats lost around $600 because of its closure. But Clackamas River Growlers saw double the amount of customers than usual on Friday evening.

"It was mostly locals and their friends and family. A lot of new faces were there," Long said.

Even though the march was scheduled outside of Clackamas River Outfitters' normal operating hours, Dickson said she wouldn't have been upset if the event had impacted business for the day.

"(People's) rights are super important," she said. "That's way more important than maybe losing a couple of customers."

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