The Portland Garment Factory is unique. Not only is it one of a dwindling number of textile plants in the U.S.; it also takes a novel approach to manufacturing that focuses on sustainability and ethical labor.
The woman-owned company has experienced significant success in its 13-year history, bringing zero-waste design and fabrication services to big names like Adidas, Nike and Levi’s.
But earlier this week, it all came crashing down when PGF’s facility was engulfed in flames in the middle of the night. The result, after several hours of firefighting finally extinguished the blaze, was a facility that suffered intense damage and a collapsed roof.
And it didn’t take investigators long to pinpoint a cause: security footage shows an unidentified person in a hooded sweatshirt deliberately setting fire to a dumpster on the property and then walking away. An arson investigation is underway, and Portland Fire & Rescue is asking for the public’s help in identifying the person in question.
Meanwhile, PGF’s supporters have emerged in a big way. On its first day alone, a GoFundMe page raised $44,000, and the number has grown since. The page’s organizers say the funds will go toward replacing machines that were lost, paying employees, and putting a deposit down on a new space.