PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) - In the midst of chaos downtown, a homeless man provided a sincere gesture of kindness.
A protest became a riot overnight in Portland, as demonstrators pulled down statues of Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln in response to Monday’s federal holiday of Columbus Day. Monday is also Indigenous Peoples Day in Oregon.
As the riot continued, the crowd smashed widows at the Oregon Historical Society. They also stole a handmade quilt – which was later found outside soaked by the rain – and threw flares into the building.
The Afro-American Heritage Bicentennial Commemorative Quilt was sewn by 15 Black women from Portland in the 1970s. It will now be off public display to be evaluated by the OHS collections team.
Kerry Tymchuk, executive director of the Oregon Historical Society, was dismayed by the destruction, noting that rioters are mistaken if they believe OHS doesn’t honor Oregon’s Native Americans.
Tymchuk said they have seen new memberships and donations made online overnight, but "none have affected me as much as a gift from our neighbor, Oscar."
Tymchuk shared a special note he received Monday morning. It was handwritten on a napkin and included a $1 bill.
The note was from a homeless man named Oscar, who said he saw the damage and wanted to help with some of his bottle-collecting money, because the Oregon Historical Society once gave him a free tour before the pandemic, “so this is a thank you!”
Homeless man gives dollar to @OrHist after @PortlandPolice say protesters damage the building breaking in and breaking glass doors. Oscar says he earned the money from recycling and wants it to go to help repair the building. #fox12Oregon pic.twitter.com/CDmsXpvSrd— Marilyn Deutsch (@marilyndeutsch) October 12, 2020
The Oregon Historical Society released a statement Monday saying, in part, "For everyone who has called, emailed, or sent us messages of support, we can’t thank you enough for your kindness during this difficult time."
Along with the Historical Society, numerous businesses were also damaged by rioters, according to Portland police. Three people were arrested in connection with the riot, with more arrests possible.
Copyright 2020 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.