12-08-2016  9:45 pm      •     

The construction company site in the Pearl District where a noose was hung early Aug. 4 was broken into by vandals, company officials said.
R&H Construction CEO John Ward, in an email message to The Skanner, indicated that the Ziba Design World Headquarters site at Northwest Ninth and Lovejoy Streets, showed signs of "unauthorized entry," over the preceding weekend.
He wrote that the noose was taken down as soon as the company was notified of its presence, and that the company's security procedures have been reviewed.
A spokeswoman for Ziba Design said the company's CEO is in Japan and couldn't be reached for comment.
"What I do know is that Ziba does not have access to the site without R&H," she said.
An African American man who lives in the apartment building next door to the Ziba construction site photographed the noose last week. He declined to be identified because, he said, he didn't know if the noose was some sort of threat to him or his neighbors.
As he walked to work at around 7 a.m., he glanced at the metal-framed building.
"I saw this shadowy thing and I thought: this was a noose," he said.
When he walked by again at 10 a.m. the noose was still there, he said, and he went up to his apartment and fetched his digital camera.
He said he also asked a couple of neighbors – as well as his apartment manager – what they thought it was. "It's a noose, is what they said – no hesitation."
"There are several African Americans living in the area, four or five living in the building I live in, but I've never had anything like that happen," he said. "I have had several of the elderly people living in the building who are of the mindset that they question whether I live in the building."
The New York Times reported in February of this year that President Bush denounced a recent spate of noose-dangling incidents across the country, which appeared to have been sparked by one in Louisiana that led to violent incidents and a drawn-out court case.
"The noose is not a symbol of prairie justice, but of gross injustice," Bush said during a White House ceremony marking Black History Month. "Displaying one is not a harmless prank."
He continued, "As a civil society, we should be able to agree that noose displays and lynching jokes are deeply offensive. They are wrong. And they have no place in America today."
His press secretary, Dana Perino, told reporters that more than 70 noose incidents had been recorded by federal officials after racial tensions exploded in the town of Jena, La., where a Black high school student sat beneath a traditionally "Whites-only" tree on school grounds. The next day, three nooses were hung at the spot, sparking a fight that left one White student injured.  No White students were punished, but Black students were jailed and charged with attempted murder.
"For generations of African Americans, the noose was more than a tool of murder," Bush said. "It was a tool of intimidation that conveyed a sense of powerlessness to millions."
In April of this year, the U.S. Secret Service placed a White agent on administrative leave after a Black employee found a noose hanging at the service's main training facility near Washington D.C. Officials are reportedly investigating the incident, which involved a "veteran agent" in a unit that patrols the White House grounds, according to Cox Newspapers.
A map of noose incidents created by the Southern Poverty Law Center and The New York Times showed that a disproportionate number seem to occur in schools and at construction sites.
Local contractor James Posey says construction sites have traditionally been a hotbed of similar incidents in Portland.
"This is not the first time when a noose has been found at a construction site in this town," Posey said. "A few months ago it was a sheet metal company where a noose was found by an employee.
"I wish I had a dime for every unreported incident of this kind," he said.
A noose incident occurred at Oregon State University in November of 2007; and at Portland General Electric in 2004.

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