Native-owned Cully cafe Bison Coffeehouse was vandalized this week in what appears to be retaliation to a “Coffee with a Cop” event owner Loretta Guzman had publicized on social media.
The Oregonian’s Zane Sparling reports that at around 3 a.m. on Wednesday, October 5, six masked vandals smashed the cafe’s windows and sprayed a white residue from a fire extinguisher all over the cafe’s interior, including on Native artwork and an authentic stuffed bison head.
Guzman was approached by police officials to host a two-hour community event, in which community members could meet and ask officers questions. When she first publicized the event on Instagram, the comments were overwhelmingly negative, with commenters communicating disappointment with the cafe’s choice to host a police-centric event. Other commenters cited the Portland Police Bureau’s thousands of documented cases of unreasonable force against civilians during the 2020 protests, as well as the criminal justice system’s disproportionate impact on Indigenous communities in the United States.
In her interview with the Oregonian, Guzman indicated that she agreed to host the event out of frustration with the Portland Police Bureau, hoping that it would effect positive change. “I was just hoping people from the community could bring their concerns, their questions — because there’s a lot of questions right now that people have for the police,” she told the Oregonian.
The event was scheduled for 8 a.m. the morning of the incident and went on as planned.
Guzman has launched a GoFundMe with a goal of $100,000 to cover the cost of repairs. In a series of tweets on Wednesday, October 5, Mayor Ted Wheeler stated that upon the arrest of the individuals responsible, he would “advocate for the prosecution to the fullest extent of the law — including potential federal hate crimes.”
Guzman is a member of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes. According to the Native Business Center, Bison Coffeehouse is Portland’s sole Native-owned coffee shop.