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Portland African-American Group Opposes New Trader Joe's in Black Neighborhood

| by Michael Allen

The Portland Development Commission decided in December 2013 to sell an empty lot of land located in a historically black neighborhood at a $2.4 million discount so that Trader Joe's could build a new grocery store.

In response, the Portland African American Leadership Forum (PAALF) fired off an angry email to the Portland Development Commission and Portland Mayor Charlie Hales.

According to The Oregonian, PAALF's letter claimed that the proposed Trader Joe's store would "increase displacement of low-income residents" and "increase the desirability of the neighborhood" for "non-oppressed populations."

"Given the long-standing list of promises made, and yet unfulfilled by the PDC to prevent community displacement, PAALF is and will remain opposed to any development in N/NE Portland that does not primarily benefit the black community," added the PAALF.

In addition to the Trader Joe's, four to ten retail shops and 100 parking spaces were also planned.

BicPacReview.com reports that Trader Joe’s has now pulled its plans to build a new store on the empty lot.

“We run neighborhood stores, and our approach is simple: If a neighborhood does not want a Trader Joe’s, we understand, and we won’t open the store in question,” a Trader Joe's spokesperson said in a statement.

“There are no winners today,” Adam Milne, owner of Old Town Brewing Co., told The Oregonian. “Only missed tax revenue, lost jobs, less foot traffic, an empty lot and a boulevard still struggling to support its local small businesses.”

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Sources: BicPacReview.com and The Oregonian