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Rising crime drives northeast Portland thrift store to close, owners say

PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) – A thrift store in northeast Portland says it’s closing due to rising crime in the area, but it’s not your average thrift store.

On a daily basis, Anniebug’s Attic Thrift Store sells goodies and trinkets but, on the side, they have their Paying It Forward program where they donate free clothes to those in need. But with all the crime happening in the area, they see fewer people in their store.

Anniebug’s Attic opened in 2019, but their Paying It Forward program has been around since 2015. People in need can walk into the store and choose up to five items like pants, shoes, a shirt, and a blanket for free.

“They don’t know where else they will get their free clothes. We have a few regulars who should be coming today, but they’re not coming because we’re closing,” says Caitlyn Austin, co-founder.

Over the years they have helped over a thousand people. But regardless of their dedication to helping people, the crime in their backyard now forces them to turn people away. Recently they have been victims of robberies and stripped cars.

“We had a standoff in the back parking lot with the police department trying to get a guy out of the trailer park,” Austin says. “Harassing our customers as they entered the store.”

Anniebug’s Attic has seen fewer and fewer customers over time. In fact, Caitlyn says they made $19,000 during the pandemic and are barely hitting that number now. Other businesses in the area have also closed due to crime.

They will close on September 15 and will no longer take donations. However, they will still donate clothing and welcome customers who wish to offer support.