Portland-based Coava Coffee is permanently closing its downtown cafe this week on three days’ notice after nearly six years of brewing locally roasted coffee there.
The company cited safety concerns at the location, which opened in 2017 behind the Portland Art Museum at 1171 S.W. Jefferson St., but at least one employee at the cafe Tuesday called the company’s explanation mostly froth.
“Mostly froth” is terrific. Coava Coffee literally just had a skateboard thrown through their front windows.
This is exactly how newspapers editorialize and mislead in their stories now.
Coava’s announcement came Monday via a Facebook post, saying the cafe’s team members have been on the “front line enduring extreme violence and criminal activity on an almost daily basis for the last few years.”
Those incidents, Coava’s management wrote, have been increasing in frequency and severity.
In the past year, people in the area immediately around the cafe have reported 38 assaults, 36 theft cases, six stolen cars, four robberies and 25 cases of vandalism, according to city data on Portland Maps.
No worries, though, it’s “mostly froth.”
A few days ago, a patron who was making verbal threats to other customers threw a skateboard through the front windows when he was asked to leave, employees said.
The cafe has also been robbed overnight at least once.
Coava’s management said they’ve “brought all the resources to bear that we have access to: doubling up on shifts, locking one entrance, de-escalation training, hazard pay and heightened management oversight.”
They added, “We cannot continue operation here as we cannot ensure the safety of our team and customers.”
That because they’re having to run a security service in addition to an actual business.
The reasons for closing may go beyond safety, said Robert Wilcox, a barista at the downtown location.
Ultimately, it seems more like the cafe just isn’t making enough money to stay in business, Wilcox said Tuesday.
All that froth is expensive!
“Management’s reasoning made it sound like we’re in a war zone down here and that’s not really true,” said Wilcox, who also lives in the neighborhood. “I do think it’s been unsafe, so while it might be the right decision, they’re sort of using those concerns as an excuse.”
I love the part where he admits it’s unsafe while maintaining that the correct standard is whether or not it’s a war zone. One has to be open to the idea that Wilcox is being quoted out of context or his words are being misconstrued. Surely, he realizes that the environment (frothy!) has made it impossible to run a viable business.