Burgerville, a burger joint in the Lents area of Southeast Portland, has temporarily shuttered its doors because of rising crime and homelessness that have created unsafe conditions for its workers and guests.
“The environment around the restaurant has deteriorated seriously,” a company spokesperson told the Portland Tribune. “Police are now being called daily. Burgerville employees have found weapons, drug paraphernalia and human waste on the property.”
The company released a statement indicating that the location, which had been in operation for over 20 years, had been plagued with problems for many months. Citing the “deteriorating conditions” in the area around the restaurant, the statement indicates that private unarmed security did not prevent them from having to make numerous calls to the Portland Police for things like “crime, vandalism, and intimidation.”
“We acknowledge that economic conditions have driven some people into desperate situations, and the solutions are not easy,” the statement read. “The humanitarian crisis we are facing is the collision of poverty, mental health issues and severe addiction that have been driven by decades of public policy decisions and impacts. While we cannot solve those challenges overnight, Burgerville is committed to addressing these issues.”
The @BurgervilleUSA restaurant at 92nd & Powell has been closed temporarily. The CEO cites deteriorating conditions (weapons, drug paraphernalia and human waste on the property) pic.twitter.com/kArMVVtBWK
— Mike Benner (@MikeBennerKGW) August 3, 2021
Tom Burke, the owner of King Pins, a bowling alley adjacent to the closed Burgerville, is disappointed they closed, but completely understands.
“We are right next to a path that leads to the MAX station and you know, you have children and families walking on that path next, all the way up to the MAX station. And over the last year-and-a-half or so, we’ve had a number of tents just stack up right in the area,” Burke said. “It started with one and we now have about 20, just along the path going up as I mentioned to the MAX station. And the unfortunate thing is you know you have families and children that are walking up the path and at any time you can find hundreds of needles.”
(Video Credit: KOIN)
As an advocate to end poverty, Dr. Donna M. Beegle explained in a tweet that the area known as “felony flats” had been neglected for decades. “This area is where I lived in 17 houses in 20 years. Its nickname is ‘felony flats.’ It has been largely ignored by the county, the city, and the state for decades,” she wrote, “We created this.”
Others chimed in to indicate that the closure was likely due to the leftists’ ridiculous policies like “defund the police.” In fact, after the Portland police budget was slashed by $15 million, there has been a sharp increase in crime including homicides in the Oregon city.
That is a really shitty neighborhood.
— Portland Has Fallen (@PortlandFallen) August 4, 2021
Well, by all means, defund the police!
— thoughtpretzel (@thoughtpretzel) August 4, 2021
We have had over $60k in damages to our low income housing apartments we are building over the last year in this neighborhood. Have many of the people on camera and the cops can’t do anything. 95% of the people we have on camera looked tweaked out and homeless.
— Aldo🇺🇸Raine (@Skybuster83) August 4, 2021
However, others have tried to blame the closure on the unionization efforts of the eatery which is one of five locations to attempt to unionize since 2016, although no signed agreements have come of the efforts, according to a report by KOIN.
“crime” is being used to cover up a union-busting campaign by Burgerville here, who also cynically weaponize a pre-existing dangerous myth about our unhoused neighbors.
seems bad!!! https://t.co/G44bF6Z7EC
— Emily🌹 (@mly_vwg) August 4, 2021
The Burgerville statement, addressed to “Orewashingonians” as the chain maintains around 40 locations in both Washington and Oregon, said that employees were offered jobs at other locations and while there is no reopening timeline, they plan to do so in the future, “in a way that is safe and considers the best interests of our guests, employees and everyone in our surrounding community.”
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