Trader Joe’s has dropped plans to develop in a black Portland neighborhood after community activists complained that they do not want a Trader Joe’s in their neighborhood.
“We open a limited number of stores each year, in communities across the country,” it said in a statement. “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.”
The Portland Development Commission was offering a hefty discount to the store to develop on a lot that had been vacant for years.
Community activists feared the new store would further gentrify the area and drive out the long time residents because of higher prices. The Portland African American Leadership Forum said the development commission had in the past made promises about preventing projects from displacing community members but hadn’t fulfilled them. In a letter sent to the city the organization said they would “remain opposed to any development in N/NE Portland that does not primarily benefit the Black community.” It said the grocery-store development would “increase the desirability of the neighborhood,” for “non-oppressed populations.”
But many people feel that the store could have benefited the community. Especially one company in particular. According to The Oregonian, Portland-based Colas Construction, a minority-owned construction company, no longer has the large contract to work on the construction of the store.
“Moving forward, we will be communicating with the various stakeholders: Including those who wanted this development and who were excited about it, and those who didn’t want it to happen. It is too soon to say what comes next for this site. We will work with the full range of stakeholders to determine the next steps. And we remain committed to working with stakeholders to find projects for this and other development sites throughout the city,” city officials said.