KOIN- Some business owners say coverage of violence at Justice Center is scaring off customers

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ORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — It’s been nearly two months since protests began and some downtown Portland business owners believe coverage of the violence and vandalism is keeping customers away.

Business owners are now working to welcome the public back. They say most of the clashes between protesters and law enforcement happen late at night so doesn’t affect customers in the city during normal business hours.

David Margulis of Margulis Jewelers said he’s tried to get creative in making his store look welcoming despite the boards that went up over the windows.

“Unfortunately, we are ‘Portland, City of Plywood’ because too many windows had to be boarded up,” he said. “We covered all the plywood just to be upbeat about having to board up.”

Looting during some of the early nights of the protests prompted many businesses to cover their windows. Margulis said they need to get the message out that the downtown area is open for business and safe for shoppers despite these security measures.

“Portland downtown unfortunately has gotten this rap because of what has taken place by the Justice Center,” he said. “It’s not that way all over downtown, it’s located in a rather confined area.”

Michael Bullen is among the downtown residents who are venturing back to their favorite restaurants.

“Many people are closing and opening and everybody is like coming up with creative new ways to deliver their provisions,” he said.

Bullen told KOIN 6 News he’s noticed the mood started changing in the downtown area in the past couple of weeks.

“It’s really positive — I think the vibe is different today than it was two weeks ago,” he said. “The vibe is definitely changing into a more positive vibe.”

And though business has taken a hit, Margulis — who’s been working downtown for 50 years — believes there are signs of recovery.

“We are very happy that Nordstrom’s reopened as an anchor for downtown,” he said. “I just want to welcome people to return to our beautiful downtown.”

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