A national store chain wants to build on an empty lot in Portland, Oregon. The chain store will bring tax revenue, jobs, and use some local building companies to perform part of the construction. Everyone wins until the city planners are accused of racism for not providing affordable housing as part of the store construction and demanding the store have hiring quotas for black people in the area. Then the store, Trader Joe’s, pulls the plug on the whole deal, stating “If a neighborhood does not want a Trader Joe’s, we understand, and we won’t open the store in question.” Now there is anger at the Portland African-American Leadership Forum (PAALF) for killing the deal. I guess PAALF didn’t figure their negotiation tactics would work – they wanted all or nothing, and they got nothing. How is that a win for the community?
Read more on this story at ricochet.com:
Trader Joe’s wanted to build a new store in Portland, Oregon. Instead of heading to a tony neighborhood downtown or towards the suburbs, the popular West Coast grocer chose a struggling area of Northeast Portland.
The company selected two acres along Martin Luther King Blvd. that had been vacant for decades. It seemed like the perfect place to create jobs, improve customer options and beautify the neighborhood. City officials, the business community, and residents all seemed thrilled with the plan. Then some community organizers caught wind of it.
The fact that most members of the Portland African-American Leadership Forum didn’t live in the neighborhood was beside the point. “This is a people’s movement for African-Americans and other communities, for self-determination,” member Avel Gordly said in a press conference. Even the NAACP piled on, railing against the project as a “case study in gentrification.” (The area is about 25 percent African-American.)…
After a few months of racially tinged accusations and angry demands, Trader Joe’s decided it wasn’t worth the hassle. “We run neighborhood stores and our approach is simple,” a corporate statement said. “If a neighborhood does not want a Trader Joe’s, we understand, and we won’t open the store in question.”…
“There are no winners today,” said Adam Milne, owner of an area restaurant. “Only missed tax revenue, lost jobs, less foot traffic, an empty lot and a boulevard still struggling to support its local small businesses.” The store was to be built by a local African American-owned construction company.