PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) - It has been one month since demonstrations protesting the death of George Floyd erupted into riots and looting in downtown Portland.
Dozens of businesses on the west side of the river sustained damage or experienced theft as looters smashed through storefronts and rummaged through inventory for hours early in the morning on May 30.
Downtown business owners say it's been a struggle to get back on their feet in a place that looks much different than it did before.
"There's nobody downtown, it's deserted," H&B Jewelry and Loan owner Phil Tobin said.
Tobin's shop has been at Southwest 3rd and Alder for 50 years.
"I never remembered anything like this," Tobin said.
Like many other business owners in the area, Tobin watched his store get trashed and looted live on his surveillance camera feeds.
"I'm seeing flashing police lights going up the street with 15 people standing in front of the door smashing the window," Tobin said. "And I'm thinking to myself, why isn't somebody doing something."
Rana Kassab-Daniken wondered the same thing as her family watched the chaotic smash-and-grab inside their Kassab Jewelers location downtown.
"They took everything, everything," Kassab-Daniken said.
Kassab-Daniken said over the course of an hour, their surveillance footage shows more than 50 faces went in and out of their store, cleaning out everything but two display cases.
Kassab-Daniken said her parents built the family store from nothing, and she said it felt personal watching it get destroyed in the riots, adding that she felt "let down" by the Portland Police Bureau.
Eric Murfitt, who owns Mercantile Portland, said his store has remained closed since it was vandalized that same night, and will likely remain closed for another three weeks or more.
He sent FOX 12 a statement, saying, in part:
"We strongly urge the city to manage the unlawful behaviors we are observing every night. During the 2019 May Day activity the city gave the police the appropriate authority to manage the situation with good success. For reasons unknown, the city leadership has not allowed the police to use the skills and resources available to manage this current lawless group gathering daily in front of the Justice Center. Instead, they are directing the police to retreat into the building and to add more barricades to the exterior. Why isn’t the leadership acting?"
Business owners say recovering from the violent night has not been an easy feat, even for those able to reopen their doors quickly.
"People are afraid to come downtown," Tobin said, referring to the stretch of Alder Street from 10th to 3rd as a "war zone".
That doesn't mean the community isn't trying. Groups and artists continue to paint artwork over the slabs of plywood boarding up windows, breathing color and warmth back into the quiet and graffiti-covered streets.
Color Outside the Lines is partnering with Open Eye Art to create a massive mural along Southwest 4th and Alder.
Founder of Color Outside the Lines, Anna Barlow, said different groups of Native American foster kids will be helping with the mural, which is going over the plywood on the building that houses 4th Avenue Smoke Shop and Paul's Shoe Repair.
"Replacing that with something that is colorful and positive is a feel good thing for everyone," Barlow said.
The Portland Police Bureau did not respond to FOX 12's request for comment, but Mayor Ted Wheeler's office did send the following statement:
"Small businesses are the heart and soul of our communities. What happened during protests that night happened to all of us. The City continues to outreach to, and to hear from those impacted by the protests, and is working to ensure relief to as many businesses as possible. Prosper Portland has administered a Repairs Grant Program that will provide $150,000 to small businesses. We plan to continue outreach and leverage other available resources to provide further assistance."
Fewer than 20 people were arrested in connection with the May 30 looting.
Copyright 2020 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.