‘Saturday of Giving’ helps NW 23rd shops recover

Some businesses on NW 23rd are still unable to operate

A gas explosion took place at NW 23rd and Glisan in Portland on Wednesday morning. October 19, 2016, (KOIN)
A gas explosion took place at NW 23rd and Glisan in Portland on Wednesday morning. October 19, 2016, (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — It was less than a month ago that a massive explosion changed the face of NW 23rd Ave and businesses are working to bounce back from the damage.

The October 19 explosion destroyed several buildings on the corner of 23rd and Glisan, leaving owners and workers at a loss for what to do.

“The most difficult was the first day,” said Blush Beauty Bar owner Deborah Haynes. “Just wanting to make sure everybody was safe.”

Some businesses are starting to reopen, but not without some scars.

“These first couple weeks it took for me to get back on my feet, standing and putting the store back together, was tough because I’ve never been in these shoes before,” Haynes said.

Now the community is banding together to help rebuild with a “Saturday of Giving” on November 12. The event was orchestrated by Hip Hound owner Jennifer Heckman.

“The important thing to know is that NW 23rd is open for business, that we are working to rebuild and that it takes a community to heal,” Heckman said in a press release.

Local shops, like Blush, Brooklyn Industries and Escape from New York are having sales, specials and selling raffle tickets.

“We saw the posters and this is an area that we grew up coming to a lot,” Tonneli Gruetter said. “We’re from Portland and supporting the community that you came from and building it up rather than trying to focus on the negatively right now.”

All proceeds are going to businesses that can no longer operate at their stores, like the crystal, bagel and tattoo shops that were destroyed.

“We’re a tight community,” Haynes said.