Convenience store owner fed up with crime in downtown Portland

Published: Jan. 2, 2023 at 5:34 PM PST
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PORTLAND, Ore. (KPTV) — The owner of Park Avenue Market in Southwest Portland said he’s at a breaking point with crime continuing to plague his neighborhood around Portland State University.

Yousif Jabbary owns the convenience store on Southwest Park and Clay downtown. Over the weekend, his security cameras caught two different incidents of a man jumping over the front counter, grabbing electronic cigarettes, and then running off. Each time, the video shows the cashier chasing after the suspect. Jabbary believes in both instances, it was the same man stealing from his store.

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“It’s not safe, we try to be in business, and open the door for our family and the neighborhood but it seems like it’s getting worse every day,” Jabbary said.

Jabbary immigrated to Portland from Iraq, back in the 1990s and has worked downtown for more than two decades. He said the last three years have been the worst when it comes to crime.

“This city used to be beautiful but right now it’s become a bad, bad neighborhood,” Jabbary said.

You can see it in his store. The frame surrounding the front door is full of pictures of those who’ve stolen or assaulted him and his employees.

“The last two, three years and a half with the pandemic we’ve been hit 11 times, people breaking into the business a different way,” Jabbary said. “We had a window broken again two weeks ago.”

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Jabbary said he wants a change in leadership in the city because he’s watching the increase in crime, push businesses out of his neighborhood. He’s hoping things will turn around but if not, he said the suburbs might be a better option to run safely run a business.

“I’m hoping every day that maybe this time, maybe next month it’ll get better,” Jabbary said. “You hear all the promises from the leaders of the state and the city. I’m like alright, maybe we have another chance but it doesn’t seem it anymore.”