A wannabe Nazi went around the Whiteaker area and spray painted swastikas on sidewalks, signposts and business storefronts.
Threadbare Print House was one of the businesses hit by the red swastikas. Amy Baker, head of operations and art director, tells Eugene Weekly that one of her employees noticed the flurry of swastikas this morning and called her. She arrived at 9 am and saw swastikas all over the business’ windows, parking lot and doors.
She says she hasn’t ever experienced anything close to this sort of hatred. Because of her and Threadbare’s politically progressive nature, she does experience hate messages on social media, but this is the first time that someone has responded with an in person attack.
“This kind of hatred feels so intrusive,” she says.
She adds that she feels Threadbare was targeted by the Nazi. According to surveillance footage, the person walked up, spraypainted on the door and logos and but didn’t target Threadbare’s neighbors, she says.
Threadbare Print House posted photos on Facebook this morning, and she says her customers have responded with a lot of support. People have stopped by the store with flowers, a local paint company offered to donate paint, and customers showed up to just check in with Threadbare staff.
Baker says she uses this attack as a reason to donate to nonprofits that fight racism on the ground. She’s already donated to NAACP, and some customers matched her donation.
Other places hit by the wannabe Nazi were New Frontier Market, public property: fire hydrants, sidewalks, fences and more. Many of the swastikas appear to have been created with a stencil.
A Eugenean who asked to remain anonymous documented more spray-painted swastikas in the area. One was spray painted on the northwest corner of W. 8th Avenue and Monroe. Two more on a fire hydrant in front of Jade Apartments and more on a nearby fence. More swastikas were found near New Frontier Market and the neighborhood store’s dumpster.
I counted at least 15, but my battery died before documenting them all. The locally owned neighborhood health food store was hit the worst… #Eugene #Oregon pic.twitter.com/fSnDFHxyHC
— Karen (@KarenQuercus) June 12, 2019
The person who took the photos and sent them to EW said via Twitter that “many symbols had been removed by the time I returned — Bleach never smelled so good. I finished documenting what was left.”
They added, “This incident has strengthened our community’s resolve to stand UNITED against hate. Thank you everyone for taking a stand with us.”
Eugene may pride itself in being a progressive city, but its track record indicates there’s at least a loud minority of racists. The city’s 2018 Annual Hate and Bias Report said five out of the seven cases of anti-Jewish crimes were reports of swastika graffiti. The report counts swastikas as anti-Jewish when not targeting another race.
The report added that swastikas aren’t classified as a hate crime if there isn’t a victim. However, if a swastika is found in high traffic places — like on the sidewalk near Monroe Park as in this instance — it is reported as criminal vandalism. In 2018, vandalism was the most-reported form of a hate crime, according to the report.
Melinda McLaughlin, a spokesperson for Eugene Police Department (EPD), tells EW that EPD received the first call regarding the swastikas at 7:58 am, a report that someone painted on the sidewalk near the Lane Transit District bus stop on the corner of Monroe Street and W. 7th Avenue. The caller added that fliers advising immigrants of their rights if stopped by law enforcement were painted over.
McLaughlin says EPD notified Eugene Public Works of the graffiti.
Another caller reported more swastika graffiti was on the sidewalk in front of the Monroe Park sign, as well as fliers with swastikas attached to poles around the park.
EW asked if Public Works Department staff painted over swastikas painted on public property but the city of Eugene has not yet responded.
If you want to stick it to the idiot who ran around with a spray paint can and swastika stencil, Threadbare Print House will have a fundraiser for Community Alliance of Lane County (CALC) from noon to 5 pm Thursday, June 13, at 445 Lincoln Street. Bring your own light-colored cotton t-shirt, and Threadbare will print a limited edition design on it. And it’s free, just bring some money to donate to CALC.