I was sent a link to an article out of Portland, Oregon, that discusses how a historically black neighborhood missed out on an opportunity to bring in jobs and healthier food choices. Activists and city council members apparently don’t want white people in their neighborhood. Trader Joe’s said no problem, we go where we are wanted.
This is an interesting position given we aren’t discussing Wal-mart, but instead an employer who pays decent wages, provides healthy food and could possibly jump-start other economic development, as Magic Johnson did in South Los Angeles. Did we fear gentrification then?
The Portland African-American Leadership along with Portland Mayor Charlie Hales argued moving Trader Joe’s in would price out the blacks. They went so far as to write letters to the Portland Development Commission denouncing their position to approve the project, in spite of an African-American construction company winning the bid to build the store.
Portland currently has approx. 13% of its population living below the poverty line.
The activists position is the store would “increase the desirability of the neighborhood,” for “non-oppressed populations.” The article failed to identify who the activists are.
They could be onto something, we saw firsthand how they rounded up all the black folks out of the now Park LaBrea apartments.
The irony is I don’t believe Trader Joe’s doesn’t want African-Americans in their stores either. If they did, they would openly advertise they accept EBT, not just when you check out at the register.
Costco does too.