Riot Damage Closes Shelter


Photo: Unified Command

During the evening of Wednesday, November 4, 2020, a group of protesters engaged in significant vandalism and violence in Downtown Portland. Joint incident commanders declared the gathering a riot around 7 p.m. Among the locations that suffered property damage was St. Andre Bessette Church, located at 601 W. Burnside St. Vandals broke out several of the building’s glass windows and damaged the front doors.

On Thursday, November 5, 2020, a church leader filed a report with Portland’s Central Precinct Neighborhood Response Team (NRT). The church leader told officers because of the damage, the church was forced to close its shelter and halt homeless services for the foreseeable future. The church said they could not safely open or close the building’s doors. St. Andre Bessette Church serves several hundred people a day, providing shelter, meals and other services to homeless individuals.

“Last night’s criminal activity targeting the Downtown Portland neighborhood was reprehensible and impacts all Oregonians,” Multnomah County Sheriff Mike Reese said, speaking on behalf of the Unified Command. “The loss of shelter beds due to violence and vandalism comes at a time when we desperately need safe space for vulnerable individuals to seek refuge from a pandemic and colder, rainier weather. This hurts the community’s efforts to get people off the streets and connected to the crucial resources they need.”

If you have any information about this crime, contact Portland’s Central Precinct Neighborhood Response Team at Matthew.Jacobsen@portlandoregon.gov.