A collector and artist responded to an ad this summer to go through a closed Northwest Portland medical office to salvage equipment. He was shocked to find later that the building had been an abortion clinic for almost five decades.

Robert, who prefers to withhold his last name for family safety, had already carried home surgical lights, a massive operating table and other gear when a helper informed him that Lovejoy Surgicenter had been Portland’s main abortion site since the 1970s. The clinic closed early this year.

Robert began researching the location and found Catholic Sentinel articles revealing troubling truths that the building’s owner had neglected to mention.

Robert, a Christian who lately has been interested in Catholicism, has long objected to abortion and felt sickened by the hardware he now had in his garage, shed and back yard. The operating table, in particular, gave him chills. He knows what happened on it for decades.

“Before I knew what it was, my little boy was playing with the cranks,” Robert said. “I am just beside myself. It’s just an object, but the evil it represents is the thing.”

Robert, who lives west of Portland, rarely frequented the neighborhood but eventually recalled once driving down Northwest 25th Avenue and seeing protesters outside the building, which was constructed 80 years ago as a convalescence center near the old St. Vincent Hospital.

“I have a moral dilemma,” Robert said. “I really am looking for a way to do something good with all this stuff.” He dreams of having it melted down and turned into art or a monument beneficial for society. Robert hopes Sentinel readers will have ideas and resources for some kind of redemptive project.

“I want to make it so it doesn’t exist anymore,” Robert said. “I wonder if there is a Christian scrap metal guy out there somewhere.” He also wonders if a Christian artist who has access to a foundry could melt it and use it.

Therese Ruesink, a member of St. Rose of Lima Parish in Portland, spent years leading prayerful pro-life vigils outside Lovejoy Surgicenter. Ruesink thinks the items Robert found should have a prayer of exorcism said over them before they get used for anything else.

Robert had planned to install the lights in his house, but now can’t stand the idea of what they once illuminated.

“I can’t even look at them,” he said. “It would be nice to still be blind to this.”

The building is slated to be razed. “I think that is the best thing that can happen,” Robert said.

Have ideas?

Contact the Sentinel at sentinel@catholicsentinel.org or 503-460-5353.