Congress Street business owner says he’ll close because of anti-abortion protesters

Mike Fink, who runs both Mike’s Restaurant and the nearby Guitar Grave on Congress Street, announced in a letter to supporters this week he won’t renew his lease for the restaurant because of lost business he blames on regular anti-abortion protests on the block.

Anti-abortion and abortion rights protesters clash on Congress Street in January. (BDN file photo by Noah Hurowitz)

The protesters turn out weekly with photos of fetuses and stand near the entry of the Planned Parenthood office a few doors down from Fink’s businesses.

In January, Fink organized a highly publicized counter protest, which fueled heated streetside debate and garnered police awareness, but did not devolve into violence.

Now, after dwindling attendance at dueling demonstrations since, Fink wrote in a newsletter he’s planning to sell or close his 437 Congress St. restaurant.

Fink had advocated for a 35-foot buffer zone that would have kept protesters from his and other storefronts, a move that would have essentially forced the demonstrations across Congress into Monument Square, but the city never implemented such a measure.

Wrote Fink:

I’ve decided to close the restaurant and sell the equipment if I do not find a buyer. I have also lowered my asking price to $10,000, which is close to the value of the equipment and inventory. I am very close to giving up selling the restaurant because every time anyone sees the stupid anti-abortion protesters they decide to NOT consider this location.

He also wrote that he plans to open his 441 Congress St. Guitar Grave later on the days when anti-abortion protesters demonstrate on the street. Here’s another excerpt from Fink’s letter:

I still believe these anti-abortion protesters are obnoxious and wrong. I have been warned by the police to not yell at them with intimidating energy. I have been aggravated every Friday and Saturday morning. I don’t like the way I have yelled at, or been inadvertently rude to my customers and others because of the direct result of how upsetting their presence is to me. … Instead of protesting against these zealots I will pursue other more positive, productive and constructive efforts. I would like continue to help Planned Parenthood by organizing and assisting with fundraising events.

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Seth Koenig

About Seth Koenig

Seth has nearly a decade of professional journalism experience and writes about the greater Portland region.