Downtown Portland jewelry store intends to sue city for handling of protests

A downtown Portland jewelry store owner intends to sue the City of Portland for its handling of protests in late May.

Noha Kassab, CEO of Kassab Jewelers, said her family-owned store was was broken into and looted early in the morning on May 30. This was during the beginning stages of what would lead to more than 100 days of protest in Portland.

“I started looking on my phone to see who was in my store, it was bunch of people going into the store, broke glass, it was the most painful, disheartening experience I ever faced,” said Kassab.

The store owner said they are still calculating the costs, but estimates $2.5 million in damages.

“I’m not someone who came to this country with money. I came with an American dream. To see my American dream destroyed and it could have been preventable, is disheartening,” said Kassab.

Kassab filed tort claim notice with the city in mid-September. She alleges Portland leaders, “failed to plan or prepare for, and failed to adequately protect, downtown businesses.”

The storefront on Southwest Broadway is the company’s flagship location. They also have jewelry stores in Lake Oswego and Washington Square Mall.

“I hope to let the city know the amount of pain they have caused for failing to protect the businesses. I want them to realize they did not do their job. I’m hoping in can create momentum and gain other business owners on my side,” said Kassab, when asked what she hoped a lawsuit would accomplish.

Kassab’s downtown location is still boarded up. She hopes to open it up again, but doesn’t think that will happen any time soon.

This, along with the potential for future lawsuits, would only add to the growing costs of ongoing demonstrations in Portland. According to data provided by Portland police, costs for the first two-and-a-half months of protest are nearly $8 million.

READ MORE | Protests cost Portland Police nearly $8 mill, including $300k for food, data shows

A spokesperson for the Office of Management and Finance said the city’s “Risk Management Division is always preparing for additional lawsuits, as every tort claim filed is legal notice of the claimant’s intent to sue.”

City Attorney Tracy Reeve said, “We are not able to comment on pending or threatened litigation.”

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