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Vandal shatters Greenleaf window

A man’s chair-throwing eruption Sunday afternoon that cost Greenleaf Restaurant its freshly painted storefront window was not related to the “solidarity with Portland” protest held the previous evening, Ashland police Chief Tighe O’Meara said Monday.

According to O’Meara, a man possibly suffering from mental health or substance abuse issues, or both, made some “really off-the-wall” statements before chucking a chair through the window of Greenleaf, located in the heart of the Plaza at 49 N. Main St.

According to a Facebook post by Greenleaf, the man also tried to throw a chair through the window of Ostras! Tapas and Bottle Shop next door, but that attempt failed when the chair bounced off the window.

Greenleaf also posted on its Facebook page that nobody was injured during the melee, and that its new logo was painted on the window “just a couple of weeks ago.”

According to the Ashland police log, Gabriel Harrison-Swinden was arrested at 3:08 p.m. for disorderly conduct and criminal mischief and was lodged in Jackson County Jail.

“I think at least two officers arrived,” O’Meara said. “He was still on scene. They took him into custody, and as far as I know there weren’t any issues with us, but when he got to the jail I know that there was some resisting that went on. He was not cooperative with the jailers at the county jail. He was just standing or sitting in the restaurant.”

The incident took place less than a day after Saturday night’s protest, which ended up in front of the Ashland police station at 1155 E. Main St. The protest was peaceful, O’Meara said, though there were a few armed counter-protesters.

“And people try to conflate it with the protests that are going on because they’re both on the Plaza,” he said, “but I think people are sensitive to looking out for property destruction, and when they know that there was a demonstration on the Plaza Saturday night they want to combine the two. But there’s simply no connection.”

The demonstrators, who began the organized protest in the Plaza at 7 p.m., drifted away by about 10:30 p.m., O’Meara said.

Another act of vandalism was reported to APD Monday, and O’Meara, who wrote the department’s Facebook post about the incident, said his department is open to tips about the marking up of the Ashland Peace Wall monument.

A sign on the wall reads, “The Ashland Peace Wall Banners on a fence transformed by a community into wisdom on a wall Dedicated September 21, 2010.” On Monday, the sign was marked up with a message that appeared to be scrawled with a sharpie: “Burn Ashland Down Stand with Portland.”

The message irked O’Meara because, he said, it reeked of hypocrisy.

“It doesn’t make sense,” he said. “I mean, there’s some parts of civil disobedience and protesting that I can understand, but it doesn’t make sense to deface a monument to peace by itself, period, but also by saying burn a city down in support of another city. It bothered me that it’s such a cool part of the community, it’s such a nice art installation and that somebody would deface it in the name of bringing peace to Portland. Well, how about bring some peace to Ashland’s peace monument first.”

Joe Zavala can be reached at 541-821-0829 or jzavala@rosebudmedia.com.

Andy Atkinson / Ashland TidingsCustomers enjoy lunch Tuesday inside Greenleaf Cafe.