Feb
05
2014

The score: Trader Joe’s 0, Portland Community Organizers -1.

I saw this yesterday, but forgot to write something about it until Glenn Reynolds reminded me.  Short version: Trader Joe’s wanted to put up a store on some vacant lots in Northeast Portland.  The people who lived there were largely happy about this; the Portland African-American Leadership Forum (whose membership apparently mostly does not live there) was not.  The PAALF hassled Trader Joe’s about this until the chain threw up its hands and said Fine. We can take a hint and dropped its development plans. This left the PAALF holding a press conference in an empty lot, trying to explain to a bunch of aggravated locals about why the sudden loss of a job-producing anchor tenant wasn’t the worst thing in the world.  When the PAALF wasn’t demanding pet projects that nobody was particularly stepping up to fund.

Ah, community organizers.

I should warn folks: Trader Joe’s is not entirely innocent in all of this. They did get a great deal on the land ($2.4 million less than assessed value), and they did hire a minority construction contractor who happens to have a sister on the Portland Development Council (the agency that set up the deal).  But that’s, you know, business and stuff – particularly business that’s tied up with local government policy*.  It’s frankly tolerable as long as the roofs don’t leak and local property taxes don’t take a drastic hike to pay for the kickbacks.  What the PAALF did here was screw up the deal for everybody involved, including the locals. Which is just dumb.

Moe Lane (crosspost)

*This Back to School clip is slightly politically incorrect, but it’s almost brutally accurate when it comes to discussing the difference between how business is done in theory, and how it’s done in practice.

You can not like it, but you do have to accept that it’s the default.

12 Comments

  • acat says:

    Dems used to be smarter parasites than this.
    .
    Pathetic.
    .
    Mew

  • BigGator5 says:

    No winners, just losers.

    • acat says:

      Northeast is the gritty underside of Portland, the rotten part.
      .
      The area has seen some gentrification, which Trader Joes hoped to capitalize on, with some of the “grit” and “rot” pushed out of Portland proper into Gresham.
      .
      For those not paying attention, Portland is currently something of a boom town, lots of new faces from other Blue States (Cali) pouring in, and the big question is whether they’re gonna turn the place blue-r or purple-r.
      .
      Mew

    • BigGator5 says:

      I read a couple of articles, and the word Gentrification kept popping up. So basicly, the PAALF wanted to keep the neighborhood poor.
      .
      I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: We do not live in a sane world, so get with the program and stop fighting it.

  • Freddie Sykes says:

    I love my local Trader Joe’s but “gentrification” is not a word that pops into my mind while shopping there. When I look around, I see good values for the things I buy there and jobs for the people who work there.

    • acat says:

      I also love my local Trader Joe’s, and wish it were *more* local. (too many busy streets and too far to make it a reasonable cycle trip)
      .
      That said, if you plot the locations of Trader Joes into an economic demographics map, they aren’t generally found in lower-middle neighborhoods.
      .
      Mew

  • Freddie Sykes says:

    RE: The company selected two acres along Martin Luther King Blvd. that had been vacant for decades.

    What is the value of a piece of land? What you can sell it for. That fact should have been learned when the housing bubble burst.

  • techsan says:

    To continue with the Glenn Reynolds theme. Robert Heinlein seems to fit..eerily so:

    Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.

    This is known as “bad luck.”

  • Heftyjo says:

    Pretty much shows what the Democrats idea of equality means. Everyone’s equally miserable.

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