A large right-wing rally and counterdemonstrations Saturday in downtown Portland cost retailers and restaurants an estimated $3 million in lost revenue, according to the city’s largest business group.
That price tag is only likely to grow, the Portland Business Alliance said Wednesday, as employers continue to tally up losses from a day marked by hours of disruption but limited property damage or clashes between political opponents.
The business group said it did not have a detailed breakdown of the cost estimates, which were generated by the city’s Downtown Retail Council.
The figures come as Mayor Ted Wheeler and other civic leaders plan to hold a 1 p.m. press conference to highlight the economic toll the protests took on the city.
Wheeler previously said he estimates city taxpayers will also be on the hook for millions of dollars, primarily for the unprecedented police presence used to maintain the peace.
The Portland Police Bureau drew on local, state and federal law enforcement to provide 700 officers for the day, more than one cop for every two of the estimated 1,200 protest participants.
Some of the downtown’s largest retailers –from Starbucks to Nordstrom to the Portland Apple Store — closed in anticipation of right- and left-wing groups converging on the waterfront.
Restaurants and other shops also shuttered as police and city officials warned of prospective violence. Officials also encouraged people to avoid downtown entirely.
Yet the face-off between the right-wing Proud Boys and counterprotesters, including masked anti-fascist activists, was relatively uneventful.
The day’s most contentious moments unfolded after the Proud Boys and their supporters mostly left after rallying about 90 minutes. They marched across the closed Hawthorne Bridge while hundreds of counterprotesters remained downtown.
Over the next five hours, droves of left-leaning demonstrators often wandered into the street, sometimes blocking traffic, chanting and beating drums. Others confronted riot police or the stray right-wing activist who waded into the fray.
There were a few minor skirmishes and some smashed windows. According to police, 12 of the 13 arrests made during the demonstrations came while bands of counterprotesters roved the city streets.
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