African-American neighborhood does not want a Trader Joe's

Community activists in an African-American neighborhood of Portland, OR are against the idea of a Trader Joe’s opening in their neighborhood.


I find this interesting, as I have heard African-Americans complain that good quality stores (primarily grocers) refuse to do business in traditionally African-American neighborhoods.

I think the community activists are way out of line here.

good link

Can’t really speak to the specifics here, but this caught my eye (in Terr’s linked article):

Where’s my land at 1/6 of the market price? I’d like in on that deal.

It’s their loss; Trader Joe’s is awesome!

I read this article last night, and had a similar WTF reaction. How dare they try to bring in a quality store (with good prices) to an oppressed population!

Whole Foods made headlines recently in Chicago when they got the go-ahead to build a store in the famously dangerous Englewood neighborhood. Much joking and speculation about needing armed guards to keep the whole store from getting shoplifted, but no one (not significantly, anyway) saying it shouldn’t be there at all.

Being African American but not being from Portland, it does seem to be an unwise move.

However, the article doesn’t say if Trader Joe’s would hire people from the community or if it would assist in the development of other small businesses. Along with the fear of gentrification pricing out poorer residents (a problem across the US) those might be the concerns that the community leaders have or had.

Frankly, ANY businesses that don’t exploit the residents should be welcomed into an impoverished neighborhood,IMO. The lot (according to the story) had sat vacant for years and at least the Trader Joe’s would have removed an eyesore, if nothing else.

That is definitely one aspect. Another is the gentrification of yet another low income neighborhood where most housing is rented by the occupants, not owned. Rents go up and the lower income/minority occupants are driven farther away from their jobs and friends. I used to live on Mississippi a while back when it was low income and close to both transit and jobs-now it is filled with trendy shops and housing I couldn’t afford without two more raises.

Yeah! Those oppressed people ought to be happy with whatever we give them, regardless of what the residents feel is best for the neighborhood!

Hahahahahaha!! It’s funny because Blacks steal!


“Sweetheart deal” barely touches what the PDC was offering TJ’s. Combine that with a (perceived) long history of the city’s dismissing minority concerns (which, admittedly, is easy to do when the minorities are so small) as well as a (perceived) series of broken promises to support those communities in the face of “gentrification,” and the activists absolutely had a point. They’ve long been calling for housing and community resources, rather than more businesses catering to White yuppies in the Mississippi and Alberta neighborhoods.

More interestingly is that it looks like the PDC and the developer were engaging in some extracurricular activities of the steak dinner variety. So yay for that, I guess.

I have no idea what “we remain opposed to any development in N/NE Portland that does not primarily benefit the Black community.” means.
It sounds like “we only want shitty stores”.

Apart from what Czar said while I was typing, yes: the community has been concerned about both TJ’s commitment to being a part of the existing community, but more about gentrification, which has forced predominantly minority populations out of several neighborhoods in N and NE PDX in the past couple decades.

Well, it’s far from impoverished. But that’s a fair point. It might hinge on he definition of “exploit,” though. If it is part of a movement, sanctioned by the City, to encourage wealthier people into the neighborhood, forcing lower-income residents further toward the suburbs, well…I don’t know that I would call that TJ’s exploiting anyone but the PDC. It kinda bites, though.

I’m pretty sure it means “Our major supporters are waiting for our own backroom deals to buy real estate for cheap.”

I really have news for these people. Trader Joe’s attracts customers. Customers generate revenue. Revenue is used to hire people and pay taxes. Taxes pay for public services. Since economic prosperity is linked to jobs and public services… well, I’ll leave that as an exercise for the reader. I’m not a fan of the sweet land development deal, but it seems like maybe a small price to pay for improving a neighborhood.

Kinda reminds me of this.

And not a bit like “We’d not like our rents to be raised higher than we can afford, because we’re tired of moving were there are no local jobs and it takes over an hour to get to work by bus…if the bus runs in that neighborhood at all.”? Listen harder.

Who wants their rents raised? Should we have a policy of keeping shitty neighborhoods shitty, because guess what happens when shitty neighborhoods are no longer shitty? And how do you propose keeping rents low w/o keeping the neighborhood shitty? (Please do not suggest rent control…)

It’s been a long time since I shopped at Trader Joe’s. How pricey are they compared to other chains?

They more of a specialty store, so you can’t really compare them, but form my experience they offer really good value- quality stuff at a good price, but not necessarily a broad range of products. It’s not a Safeway.

Eh. When the land sits vacant for years, then something’s wrong with the valuation put on the lot. The true market price is the price someone’s willing to buy at, and that was far lower than the appraisal.

Those are good questions. I offer no answers but a question that I find more on my mind than yours: how do we as a community mitigate the economic effects of otherwise laudable gentrification efforts on minority and impoverished populations?

By reducing income inequality as such.

In Chicago, I can’t find one with a deli or a fresh meats section in the Trader Joe stores. The stores have an excellent (if not gratuitous) selection of wines, cheeses, crackers, and breads. I typically end up having to go to Whole Foods, Jewel or Dominick’s to get my meats and cold-cuts. Trader Joes in other areas may be different.

I think you’re right on target here. It would be interesting to pair the median income of that neighborhood/area with other areas Trader Joe’s typically services. It’s a shame that instead of using that area to build a school, a playground, a recreation center, or something that could benefit the community, they decide to pimp it out to a private developer to build what can only be described as the Urban Outfitters of grocery stores.

  • Honesty