Our Gresham Pregnancy Resource Center was set on fire this morning at about 3 am. From initial investigations by Police and Fire authorities, it appears an incendiary device was thrown through a window.
Our alarm system immediately alerted Fire and Police, and they arrived very quickly and extinguished the fire. It was mostly contained to one room, but damage there was extensive and there is additional water and smoke damage in other parts of the building. Nobody was hurt.
There were no messages left behind, and at this point, we do not know who committed this crime.
When our SE Portland Pregnancy Resource Center was vandalized a few weeks back, I said at the time that we had an incredibly resilient team. It remains true. I am deeply encouraged by the way our staff grieves honestly and prays genuinely for the hearts of the people perpetrating these crimes.
At the same time, this hurts. Arson is particularly violent and destructive, and it compromises a sense of safety for our team and for the people we serve. On top of that, this will require temporary closure of our center until we can make repairs.
The kind of outrage that’s being directed at us is based on a complete misunderstanding and misrepresentation of who we are and how we have served the hundreds of thousands of people that have come to us over the decades. This moment in our culture is volatile, and the spillover into violence is deeply destructive to the fabric of our communities. We reject and refuse to have any part in the culture of hate. Jesus has modeled a different way. It’s the way of love. That narrow way includes, as a challenge to us all, the love of those who hate us.
This incident is happening just as we were going to begin a full renovation of the Gresham Center. When we do reopen, we plan for the center to be a welcoming, warm and beautiful space where we can again serve our clients with all the care we always have.
We are absolutely committed to continuing our work to serve women who may be pregnant with dignity and respect, providing practical and professional clinical services.
What can you do?
The requests I made a few weeks ago continue to be very relevant today. Pray especially for our team. The windows on the SE center are still boarded up, and the wounds are still fresh.
Next week we are launching the campaign to renovate the Gresham center. You can contribute directly to that work through this link. We also appreciate gifts to sustain and support the overall work of First Image. Those gifts can be made here.
As we do the work on the Gresham center, we’ll be looking for volunteers to help with a variety of needs. If you are interested in being added to the volunteer list, click here.
I continue to be humbled by the way our community responds with such thoughtful generosity toward the people we serve.
We are called to look to the example of Christ, and I see that example in so many of you. Thank you.
Your fellow follower,
Luke Cirillo, CEO