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Fearing gentrification, Black Portland neighborhood tells Trader Joe’s ‘no’ to new store

traderjoe 600The Trader Joe's grocery store chain recently announced that it no longer plans to open a store in a predominately African-American neighborhood in Portland after activists claimed the store's prices weren't affordable for black families.

Local community leaders and activists said opening a Trader Joe's in the historically black neighborhood would "increase the desirability of the neighborhood for non-oppressed populations" and risk gentrifying the neighborhood.

In a statement to EurWeb, the Portland African American Leadership Forum said having a somewhat pricey food store in their Portland neighborhood would displace residents and perpetuate income inequality in the area.

A letter sent to city officials from the group said it would "remain opposed to any development in north/northeast Portland that does not primarily benefit the black community."

"We run neighborhood stores, and our approach is simple," the grocery chain said in a statement. "If a neighborhood does not want a Trader Joe's, we understand, and we won't open the store in question."

The company told The Oregonian that it wouldn't press its plans for the store, given community resistance. Trader Joe's are located throughout the country in urban neighborhoods.

According to The Orgeonian, the store would have been located on a vacant lot on Northeast Alberta Street and Northeast Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.

California-based developer Majestic Realty Co. planned to build an $8 million retail strip mall on the site, which included the Trader Joes and 10 other retailers. The developer called Trader Joe's decision a major "loss for the city." Future plans for the vacant lot have not been determined.

(Blair Adams is a staff writer for the Afro American.)


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+1 #2 James Sdoia 2014-02-11 22:32
Color me white and confused. I was obviously under the mistaken assumption that integration was the holy grail of the civil rights movement. Now we have black neighborhoods that don't want whites to move in? Isn't that racist? It certainly is when whites oppose blacks from moving into a white neighbor hood. Where is the logic here?
0 #1 Chasisty Dolley-Jone 2014-02-11 13:42
So confused by their opposition, they are concerned with gentrification( which I get) but it was on a vacant lot, what they should have proposed was that half of the employees come from the neighborhood. Well, I am writing to request that Trader Joes bring a store to South Memphis ( I live in Midtown, but I would definitely patronize the store especially if they are giving the residents in 38126 first dibs on the jobs). We confuse me sometimes.

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