PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) – A May 23 fire of suspicious origin heavily damaged an abortion clinic that has been targeted twice before by arson.

The clinic has been a focal point for anti-abortion protesters for years.

Nobody was injured in the two-alarm fire, said Portland Fire Bureau spokesman Dave Centers, but the back of the masonry building was blackened by flames. Flames and smoke were coming from that area when firefighters arrived.

Kerry Orman, director of counselling for the centre, said she looked inside and saw substantial damage. An exact damage figure wasn’t immediately available.

Ortman said she feared that the recent national debate over so-called partial birth abortions has stirred up anti-abortion sentiment. “Anytime it’s in the news, it inflames people,” she said.