▶️ Downtown Bend businesses preparing for the worst amid rumors of new protests

By BROOKE SNAVELY
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS

Some downtown Bend businesses are worried about rioting and looting that could occur in the next few days, so many are taking precautions.

There have been two sizable protests in downtown Bend since the death of George Floyd in Minnesota who died while in police custody.

The first on Saturday, May 30; the second on Tuesday, June 2.  By all accounts both protests were peaceful.

There wasn’t any vandalism or graffiti associated with the protests, according to the Bend Police Department.

But businesses in Downtown Bend started looking different Tuesday when Bank of America boarded up its windows. Boarding up windows was a corporate-level decision that occurred at many Bank of America branches across the country.

“A couple of people let us know ‘We are hearing some things and we just want to let you know so you can be aware of it. Prepare for it,'” Shayna Kendrick, Silverado’s store manager, said. “For us it’s scary and stressful more than anything. Just thinking about if somebody did have ill intentions, what we have to do to be prepared.”

At least one downtown business owner Central Oregon Daily spoke with said he was sleeping inside his shop to protect his property should anything happen.

Another said he repositioned his security cameras toward the street and received alerts every time somebody passed the storefront during the early morning hours.

Other shops are securing valuables at night. One shop is removing its merchandise at night.

Kendrick said Silverado — a jewelry gallery downtown — is taking precautions in case something happens.

“Generally what we are hearing from the police is that the FBI has been involved and they don’t have any hard evidence that anything is going to happen,” Kendrick said.

Bend police are increasing night-time patrols in downtown Bend to deter any looters.

“If something does happen, I don’t feel it’s going to be protestors from our community.” Kendrick said. “It’s going to be people who are agitators or with a different intent other than what’s actually going on right now.”

Kendrick says the two protests thus far were meaningful, not ill-intended or violent in any way. She thinks downtown Bend is going to be OK.

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