Friday night in Eugene, a peaceful protest over the death of George Floyd turned destructive. Within hours of the vandalism of a business complex at 7th and Washington, several local groups reached out to help.
Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce President Brittany Quick-Warner says she was getting emails early Saturday morning, saying things like, “We want to help the businesses who were impacted, what can we do, and also, we want to create a safer and more inclusive environment for people of color in our community.”
Quick-Warner says she’s gathering a group this week to work on ways to help. "One thing that I’m thinking about," she says, "is how do we help clean up some of the vandalism that not only happened this weekend, but that’s been pretty rampant throughout this coronavirus pandemic, without people in their offices and eyes on the street.”
Quick-Warner says black community leaders met at the Chamber Saturday. They agree there’s a lot to be done in Eugene to improve the lives of minorities, and they’re identifying more specific steps.
She and NAACP Executive Director Eric Richardson agreed Saturday to jointly support the Black Lives Matter movement and condemn the violence. Quick-Warner says, “Eric and I have been having conversations for several months about how we can support minority and black-owned businesses better as a Chamber, and how as a community we can make sure we’re focused in on economic development strategies that will improve lives for black people and people of color in our community.”
Quick-Warner says it will be several days before businesses that sustained damage will learn how much is covered by insurance.