Why is it considered perfectly normal for residents of a black neighborhood to want to keep their neighborhood black? If the races had been reversed, the media would be denouncing the Portland African American Leadership Forum as the Ku Klux Klan.
The Trader Joe’s grocery-store chain has dropped a plan to open a new store in the heart of the city’s historically African-American neighborhood after activists said the development would price black residents out of the area.
The grocer, whose stores are found in urban neighborhoods across the nation, said Monday it wouldn’t press its plan, given community resistance, The Oregonian reported.
Critics said the development would displace residents and perpetuate income inequality in one of the most rapidly gentrifying ZIP codes in the nation.
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.
It sent the city a letter saying it 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.”
Mayor Charlie Hales and the urban renewal agency’s executive director, Patrick Quinton, signed a letter in January that described what they said was the commission’s contributions “to the destructive impact of gentrification and displacement on the African American community.”
Trader Joe’s is based in Monrovia, Calif. Its store would have been the anchor of a two-building development that included space for four to 10 shops and 100 parking spaces. A company owned by African-Americans in Portland had been slated to build it.