Portland nonprofit damaged amid protest
A nonprofit that helps Oregonians living with a serious chronic disease said they became an unintentional target during a recent Portland protest.
Kaleidoscope Fighting Lupus, 2705 S.E. Milwaukie Ave., hasn't been in the headlines lately — but its immediate neighbor in their shared wooden office building certainly has drawn plenty of ink.
Around 50 protesters marched to Rapid Response Bio Clean's adjacent storefront April 9, leaving behind broken windows and spray paint as a signal of their rejection of Portland's homeless camp removal policy.
Greg Dardis, president of the board of directors for the lupus nonprofit, says the demonstrators also smashed a large plate-glass window closely set near Rapid Response, but which is actually the Kaleidoscope executive director's office.
"We give funds to people with lupus so they can pay rent or utility bills," said Dardis, explaining that those living with the autoimmune disease often suffer sharp outbreaks that can interfere with stable employment.
"The sad irony is an organization that was protesting in support of the homeless would cause damage that would make it more difficult for an organization trying to keep people from being homeless," he said.
Dardis said the nonprofit has occupied its current location for about four years, seemingly without issue until the massive protest movement that sprang up last summer.
During a previous protest held outside the Rapid Response building, Dardis said someone tossed flares inside the building, which could have easily torched both offices if they had caught fire. That said, the nonprofit president noted that other protests have been peaceful, with organizers in vests ensuring that crowds made their voices heard only by putting up flyers.
"The extended protests and the damage that it costs small businesses is destructive to the community," Dardis said. "At some point it doesn't do any good, it just makes it harder to solve issues like homelessness."
The local protest community, for its part, is largely focused on the revelation that at least one black-clad informant infiltrated a recent rally outside the police union building April 12, leading to felony charges for an alleged 19-year-old arsonist.
Social media posts are now calling for another demonstration to be held Friday, April 16, at Director Park.
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