Portland cafe shutters downtown location as staff, customers complain of 'extreme violence and criminal activity'

"We cannot continue operation here as we cannot ensure the safety of our team and customers," the cafe said.

Jarryd Jaeger Vancouver, BC
Yet another small business in downtown Portland, Oregon has succumbed impacts of the city's rampant crime. Coava Coffee Roasters announced on Monday that it will be permanently closing the doors of its SW Jefferson Street location on April 13.

In an emotional statement, the cafe explained that while their other locations will remain open, downtown Portland had simply become too dangerous to continue operating there.

"We have decided to permanently close our downtown Portland cafe with the last full day of operation being this Thursday, April 13," they wrote on Instagram, explaining that "the team members at this cafe have been on the front line enduring extreme violence and criminal activity on an almost daily basis for the last few years– crime and violence that is only increasing in frequency and severity."

The cafe noted that staff and customers experienced everything from "theft, to physical displays of violence, threats of harm, break-ins, window smashing, and repeated traumatic in-cafe incidents."

Despite their best efforts to outsmart the criminals via strategies such as "doubling up on shifts, locking one entrance, de-escalation training, hazard pay, and heightened management oversight," things had simply become unmanageable.

"We cannot continue operation here as we cannot ensure the safety of our team and customers," the cafe lamented. "We opened this cafe in the summer of 2017 and poured our very heart and soul into the design and build-out of this beautiful and unique space ... While this is incredibly hard, we know it is the right decision."

According to a recent survey, 90 percent of respondents said their businesses had been broken into within the past year, with 30 percent saying it had happened more than five times.

In response, a growing number of small businesses have abandoned the downtown core in favor of the slightly safer suburbs.

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