EUGENE, Ore. -- As many local businesses have just begun the process of moving forward after lost revenue from the pandemic, Friday night’s protest resulted in another setback.
Looting and vandalism left many owners feeling helpless, as they noticed the various levels of destruction.
David Nettles, owner of Juiced Up Vapors, said his shop was looted and close to $2,500 worth of items were taken. However, there is something that he wants make very clear.
“There's not very many black businesses in Eugene,” Nettles said. “If you're protesting for black people, then why come down here and hit my building? That was my first thought, and it's still my thought.”
Nettles said there was blood everywhere when he arrived Saturday morning from whoever broke into the shop. The next steps will be to get the windows boarded up in order to continue doing business.
Jeffery Middleton, manager at The Growler Guys, said that the doors were closed for the night when the protest started.
Two thirds of their outdoor seating was taken and graffiti was all over the walls. As soon as Middleton noticed the looting begin, he went to protect his business and stood outside of it until nearly 4:30 a.m. to ensure no further damage was done.
"Honestly, the only thing going through my mind is that this is my job,” Middleton said. “This is how I pay my bills. I didn't want it to be destroyed, even with unemployment. I wouldn't have seen any money from that in a long time. This is how I pay bills for my kids and stuff, so i just didn't want to see it destroyed."
Brittany Quick-Warner with Eugene Chamber of Commerce said that the pandemic has hit businesses hard financially, and now they will have to work even harder to return to normalcy.
“I know that we have a lot to work on as a community, and as a country we should not be dismissing any of the reasons why people are angry or upset,” Quick-Warner said. “Destruction of businesses is not how we should handle it. We have to be able to both be angry about the racism and bigotry and this horrible state that our country is in and also be able to be mad about businesses are being destroyed -- both of those things should anger us. We can't lash out. We have to be able to work together and to find a way forward together.”