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Portland Masonic temple leader to leave up racist graffiti

PORTLAND, Ore. The Grand Master of a Masonic temple in North Portland said he wants to send a message by leaving up racist graffiti that was spray painted on the temple overnight Wednesday.

Swastikas, racist language, death threats and illustrations of man in a noose were found on the building early Thursday morning.

John Bryant, Grand Master of the Son’s of Haiti Grand Lodge on N. Mississippi and N. Thursday.

He said he found the graffiti when he arrived at the temple early Thursday in preparation to go to Seattle to meet with other Masonic members at a conference,
stores that carry cards against humanity.

Bryant said he was going to paint over the graffiti before he left to shield children from it but then decided against it. “I think people need to see this,
cards against humanity retail. I just want them to see it is happening in Portland. What can happen and what did happen.”

Brant said he has no idea why his building or organization was targeted. He said the organization is a non profit and “all we do is try to help the community.”

“We’ve been here for 30 years at this particular [location] and nothing like this has ever happened,” Bryant said. The majority of the temple members are black.

“This is terrible,
carda against humanity,” lodge Grand Secretary Curtis Hicks said. “It’s very disheartening.”

In the last 12 years, Jeff Behnke said he’s seen plenty of problems from his furniture repair business across the street from the temple, but never anything like this.

“I mean, we’ve been tagged a lot, but nothing racial like this, which is pretty disappointing and feels pretty dated, too,” Behnke said.

In a press release, police said Bias Crime Detectives have been assigned to the case and are “actively working all available leads at this time.” Police have not said if they have any suspect information.

The incident comes after a gunman associated with white supremacist organizations and music last Sunday.

Police responding to the shooting injured the gunman, Wade Michael Page, 40, who then killed himself.

Bryant said he will remove the graffiti this Sunday after he returns from Seattle. Police said businesses near the temple said they did not have any security video with a view of the temple.

Detectives are asking anyone with information regarding this case to call Detective Kevin Warren at 503 823 3761.

Many times I have argued that the racist bigoted remarks should remain posted on these KATU blogs because it proves that Portland is not the Liberal Progressive bastion of enlightened thought but rather that reputation is just a good marketing schema. is a subject that is taught in the schools while other nations encourage intolerance. It makes me ill to see posts on KATU that promote social intolerance and hate speech but I believe that they should remain because they demonstrate to all the thinking people who believe in the American values of Equality, Justice, and Liberty just how fragile are those values and just how tenuous of them our grip. So that we are constantly reminded that it is a razors edge between civilization and chaos so that daily we are refreshed to promote the good and stand guard against those that would undermine it.

The apologists for hate are the ones who say: “this is no big deal” or worse yet; “the blacks put it there themselves” these attitudes represent complacency and advocacy of bigotry and represent incitement of racial tension. These attitudes undermine the essential American values of Equality and Justice and threaten the peace.

I agree its hard to see them leave up that hatefulgraffiti. My first instinct was to walk down with paint and offer to help them cover it. But after speaking with them this morning I understand and respect their reasons for leaving it up. When hate rears its ugly head, you cannot simply wipe it away and pretend it was never there. If you have to face it, you understand that it is real, and that its heartbreaking. And maybe it will motivate you to do good things and take a stand against this kind ofunintelligent behavior. In our community, love shouldbecome our legacy.

Ah. graffitti. the “free speech” as defined / expressedby stupid racist cowards. At least one of these cowards is exceptionally stupid; they didn’t even get the swastika done right. (some of them in the photos are backwards).

I think probably most kids have seen swastikas before; on TV, if nowhere else. What they (and many adults) need to understand are the horrendous ideas that the swastika represented, as it was used in Germany some decades ago.

After that, I did exactly what my dad said. Ok,
cards against humanity card game, fine. You’re calling me x, so what? I’m x. I’ve actually observed that some words seem to be being taken over by the people they were initially designed to hurt.

I see this institution doing the same thing. By taking hurtful words and images away from the coward who put them there, the Grand Master is taking ownership and showing what people are capable of. He’s going to paint over the image eventually. I appreciate his intentions and his plan to cover it up soon. And it has the community talking!

Try to think about this like a detective. Who do you think that they’d investigate first? Most likely, it will be somebody connected with the Masonic Temple itself. Random crimes are rare.

It could have been a current member, disgruntled former member, a neighbor, or a competing organization. Perhaps some radical organization (anarchists, communists, religious fundamentalists) are to blame using the racial “hate” angle might just be smokescreen for an ulterior motive. Perhaps it’s just some dumb 13 year olds down the street playing a prank.

Some one else here says that they are leaving the paint up to stand up to bigotry. An equally credible argument could be made that they are leaving the paint up for maximum political effect. Who knows?

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