Homeless forcing jewelry store out of downtown

Judith Arnell is closing her SW Broadway jewelry store

Judith Arnell Jewelers on SW Broadway is closing after issues with homeless people drove business away. (KOIN)
Judith Arnell Jewelers on SW Broadway is closing after issues with homeless people drove business away. (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Another Portland business says the homeless problem is forcing it out of downtown.

Judith Arnell said her SW Broadway jewelry store was a dream come true just a few years ago. Now she says moving downtown has ruined her business.

“It’s very frightening, very frightening,” Arnell said. “My customers say ‘I’m not going downtown. I don’t want to go downtown. I am afraid.'”

Arnell told KOIN 6 News it’s just not safe anymore.

“There was a fellow chasing one of my customers with a hypodermic needle,” she told KOIN 6 News.

One disturbing incident that was caught on camera was the final straw — a homeless man defecating right outside her front doors in broad daylight, during business hours.

Surveillance video from Judith Arnell Jewelers on SW Broadway shows a man defecating right outside the front door in broad daylight. (KOIN)
Surveillance video from Judith Arnell Jewelers on SW Broadway shows a man defecating right outside the front door in broad daylight. (KOIN)

“We have piles of excrement at the door or we have vomit. We’ve had spit down the door that we have to take care of,” Arnell said.

Judith Arnell Jewelers on SW Broadway is closing after issues with homeless people drove business away. (KOIN)
Judith Arnell Jewelers on SW Broadway is closing after issues with homeless people drove business away. (KOIN)

Arnell’s stories echo those told by Columbia and SOREL CEO Tim Boyle, who is considering moving the SOREL headquarters away from downtown for the same reason. And like the corporate giant, Arnell took her small business’ concerns to city leaders.

She told KOIN 6 News she met with high ranking local law enforcement officials, who told her there’s nothing they can do.

“I asked a question ‘can you get these people out of here?’ They said ‘no they can sleep in your doorway, we’re not allowed, our hands are tied,'” Arnell said.

Like many Portlanders, Arnell is sympathetic to the homeless plight and she supports the Portland Police Bureau, but she said city and state leaders haven’t done enough to address the long-term homeless issues.

“It just saddens me that there’s so many drug addicted people that are causing the problem,” Arnell said. “I think tax payers would love to spend more money to give people homes that are safe.”

Arnell is closing her SW Broadway store after a liquidation sale.