A food truck in Portland run by a non-profit was forced to close last month after protesters camping outside of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) building in Portland harassed and threatened its employees for serving ICE officers.
In 2017, Scott and Julie Hakes founded a non-profit organization called Operation Off The Grid to feed the homeless in Portland, Oregon. According to their website, both Scott and Julie had lived on the streets at one point and “always knew when the time was right, they would give back to those in need.”
At first, the Hakes funded their organization out of pocket, but the number of meals they provided quickly grew. To fund their organization, they purchased a food truck in August 2017 that they hoped would generate enough income to help keep their organization afloat. According to Scott Hakes in an interview with The Daily Wire, the food truck they purchased had been in operation in front of the ICE building for more than 20 years and was “well established.”
The food truck was called “The Happy Camper” and originally had a chef who was homeless named Greg. Greg is featured in an emotional video on the Operation Off The Grid website in which the family and he discuss homelessness and how Greg joined the organization.
At the beginning of May, Greg’s wife passed away, which took such a big toll on him that he decided to leave the Happy Camper.
The Hakes’ 21-year-old daughter, Brianna, decided to step up and take over the truck.
While Scott describes his daughter’s compassion and willingness to make a difference, he believed that the job was too overwhelming for her and was not sure if it was the career for her. He then decided to put the Happy Camper up for sale to “put feelers out” and weigh his options. Scott claims he planned on keeping the camper open for the rest of the busy season.
Then, the “Abolish ICE’ protests began around June 17. Scott recalls when the protesters first started trickling in that they were friendly to their establishment, even though they had to be asked not to sleep on their picnic tables (seen below) and bags of cans and tools went missing. He even claims he gave them free water. Scott recalled them getting upset when he refused to give them free food and electricity. “Look, if you support us, we’ll support you,” Scott recalls the protestors telling him.
Scott said he never opposed serving anyone who wished to make a purchase but would not give away food for free.
“We told them that we were a nonprofit and could not spare any expense and were wanting to stay neutral in regards to their protest,” Scott said. “We learned right quick that if you were not in support of their agenda, we were considered against them.”
On June 27, a video was captured of protesters shouting and swearing at Brianna on a speaker and accusing her of mocking them.
The situation escalated when the Happy Camper continued to serve ICE agents, whom Scott describes as “some of our best customers from the first week we opened for business.” In a video of Brianna serving the ICE agents, protesters are seen shouting at Brianna and the agents — something Scott claims happened often.
“You’re a f***** coward,” a protester said to the agents. “Don’t serve them,” the protesters toldl Brianna.
“We’re a business, leave us out,” Brianna told the protestors.
“The protestors would stand in front of the ICE agents and scream in their face,” Scott says. “It was ugly. They would block the way. They would get on the blow horns and get everyone to start protesting.”
Eventually, ICE employees stopped coming to the food truck when “they noticed the fallout of serving them,” Scott claims. He even says he is thankful for the ICE agents “thoughtfulness” in staying away because it helped keep his daughter safe.
Scott also recalls protestors accosting and surrounding regular customers in an attempt to get them to eschew purchasing food from the truck.
Scott claims the Happy Camper’s business went down approximately 80%, resulting in the camper only making about $50 a day during the protests.
In an interview with KATU, Antonio Zamora, a man who claims he is a co-founder of the occupation, said that their group does not condone harassment or threats and that it is against their code of conduct.
The Hakes have closed down their food truck, citing violent threats toward their daughter.
When asked if they would reopen now that the protests are over, they said they will not, due to their daughter fearing for her life, claiming she had “a mental breakdown."
“She feels like at any point she will be harmed,” Scott said. “I cannot make her vulnerable.”
Scott claims that the protestors told his daughter they would continue to “watch” his daughter.
Scott was right. Last Sunday, his daughter — who lives near the Happy Camper — was spotted leaving her home by a group of protestors still lingering near the food truck. Scott claims the group approached her and started screaming at her. In a Facebook post, Julie claims her daughter had to run away.
Brianna told her father that she believes the protestors were looking for her.
The Hakes now plan to raise money to build a building for their organization with a commissary kitchen, warehouse storage for donations, and laundry services.