Apple begins work on a new, more sustainable facade for the downtown Portland store
Apple has started work on a major overhaul of its downtown Portland store, with a new design that appears more vandal-resistant. But people familiar with the company’s plans say the work won’t be finished before the holidays.
Apple’s downtown store has been obscured by heavy metal fencing since February 2021. The fencing protects the store’s characteristic large glass panels from vandalism, but has become a symbol of Portland’s inability to restore normal functions after the upheavals that accompanied the pandemic and the protests that rocked the city center in 2020.
Apple unveiled the projected facade at a meeting with the Downtown Neighborhood Association in May. It features a “storefront security enclosure” made up of dozens of transparent polycarbonate panels that form a barrier in front of the store’s glass walls.
The smaller panels are stronger than the store’s main glass enclosure, the company told neighbors, and can be obtained from a local supplier. This means that Apple can replace them more quickly if they are broken.
Apple declined to comment on construction work that began downtown last week. However, two people familiar with the company’s plans said work would be done in stages over at least a few months.
In the meantime, the metal security barrier will remain in place.
Rioters broke through the glass door of Apple’s downtown store and looted it on the night of May 31, 2020, the first night of continuous protests that lasted all summer after the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Apple’s store remained closed for several months following the protests. Apple didn’t say why, but many Apple stores in other cities were open during the period, and the company spent at least some of the time repairing damage to its Portland store.
During this period, the storefront became a canvas for murals reflecting the racial justice movement that emerged in Portland after Floyd’s murder. Portland artist Emma Berger painted a distinctive mural of Floyd on the storefront, soon to be complemented by other works of art calling for social change.
As Apple removed the plywood and reopened the store last year, it donated the fresco at the Portland civil rights organization Don’t Shoot PDX.
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