Non-profit food cart closes because of alleged threats from Occupy ICE protesters
PORTLAND, Ore. – A local non-profit food cart in Southwest Portland say they have been forced to close due to alleged harassment and threats coming from protesters across the street at Occupy ICE.
The Happy Camper is run by Scott and Julie Hakes. They use the food cart to raise money for their non-profit organization, Operation Off The Grid, which helps the homeless around Portland.
“It's our passion due to the fact that Julie and I were both homeless in our past,” said Scott. “We had always said that if we ever get to the point where we could give back, we would.”
The stand is across the street from the Portland U.S. Immigration, Customs and Enforcement (ICE) facility, where protesters are holding a weeks-long demonstration and calling for the abolishment of ICE.
As the occupation enters its sixth week, Hakes says enough is enough.
It started several weeks ago when Hakes says protesters were yelling at his daughter. Hakes provided KATU News with video showing someone from the camp across the street yelling at his daughter with a megaphone.
“She’s laughing at the immigration laws that have f****d over families,” said the unidentified protester.
In the video, Hakes daughter says, “Do you hear them? They think I’m laughing at them. So now they are targeting us now.”
“Boom - there it went. We were on the number one hit list from that point on,” said Hakes.
Since then, Hakes says protesters have harassed his customers. Business went down 80 percent.
“We were down to making $50 a day. I think there was one day we made $25,” said Hakes.
Hakes says protesters threatened to burn down his cart on multiple occasions. He says they threatened his daughter and her boyfriend.
“If they catch her outside the cart they are going to hurt her. They are constantly saying they are going to hurt her. They're constantly cussing at her and screaming at her,” said Hakes. “She finally had enough. She called me up on the phone, crying. I said ‘Breanna, shut the doors, we're done.’”
Antonio Zamora, who says he is a co-founder of the occupation, told KATU News off camera that individual actions do not speak for the group. He said if someone was harassing or threatening the cart, that is not something they condone and it goes against their code of conduct.
Hakes said he went to talk to the protesters three times, but it never helped.
“They're not rational individuals,” he said.
Hakes said they called police multiple times to report the harassment and threats.
A Portland Police Spokesperson confirmed they have at least one report of threats, along with video to go with it. Because it is the weekend, police say they were not able to do a full search of the system for other reports.
Hakes put the food cart up for sale over the weekend. He is asking $29,999 for everything. He says this is less than what they put into the cart.
Now, Hakes is going to focus on moving forward and trying to find another way to raise funds for their non-profit.
“The organization is going to continue on, nothing is going to stop that,” he said.