Portland’s Blacks Protest City’s Plans to Make Neighborhood More Desirable

In today’s troubled economy, one would expect a low-income neighborhood would welcome a discount grocery store in their midst.  Not only would it provide cheaper food closer to home, but it would also provide jobs for some of the area’s residents.  But that’s just what the black residents of Portland, Oregon don’t want.

Portland Development Commission is trying to help improve the community that is known as the Interstate Corridor urban area which is predominantly black.  In their efforts to help, they recently approved the sale of a vacant piece of land to Majestic Realty for just $502,160 for the purpose of building a Trader Joe’s store on the lot.  The property is worth $2.9 million, but the city believed the $2.4 million discount was worth it to bring in the discount store and jobs into an area they are trying to help renew.  Trader Joe’s even awarded the construction contract to a minority owned construction company.

Instead of being thankful for the city’s effort to bring the discount retailer and jobs to their community, the city’s blacks are up in arms over the project.  The Portland African American Leadership Forum sent a scathing email to Portland Mayor Charlie Hays and the city commissioners telling them they didn’t want Trader Joe’s in their neighborhood.

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Why?  In their email they stated one of the reasons as:

“A new Trader Joes will increase the desirability of the neighborhood to non-­oppressed populations…”

Goodness, we can’t have the neighborhood become more desirable to others can we.  We can’t have ‘non-oppressed’ people spending their money in their neighborhood which would support jobs for the locally oppressed people who desperately need work.

They claim in their letter that making their neighborhood more desirable would place undue economic pressure on the residents and would lead to the ‘displacement of low-income and black residents.’

Instead, they want the property to be used for ‘family appropriate affordable housing.’ Ever since America has been placed under the tyranny of the Affordable Care Act I have to wonder what their definition of affordable housing is.  But if they don’t have jobs then how are they going to afford any kind of affordable housing?  If they don’t have affordable food available to them, then how much more is it costing them to travel further and pay high prices for their food and staples?  They claim that there are several large and small grocery stores within 2 miles of the property, but for low-income people that don’t have transportation 2 miles in adverse weather can be a formidable trek.  Having Trader Joe’s closer would definitely make it much easier on the surrounding community.

Retired Lt. Col. and former US Rep Allen West points out another irony of the protest against bringing in a Trader Joe’s discount grocery store into the area:

“Leftists and our illustrious First Lady decry the fact that low-income, minority households have limited access to fruits, vegetables and other nutritious foods. But in Oregon at least those households don’t really want what Trader Joe’s is selling – guess those free-trade bananas and coffee are just ‘too white.’”

Well, they succeeded and the Trader Joe’s project has been killed along with the jobs and the boost to the local economy. Now they are left with the empty piece of land in their neighborhood that is doing nothing beneficial to anyone.

I just can’t believe that making their neighborhood more desirable to others with more money would be a reason to protest the Trader Joe’s project.  It sounds to me that they don’t want to do anything to improve their living conditions.  Perhaps the undue economic pressures they speak of means that some of them will be forced to get a job and work instead of living off of taxpayer dollars.  It’s much easier to stay home, not work and live off government subsidies and complain about it than it is to actually do something to change their miserable lives.  One of my pet peeves is when people bitch and moan about their lives but are too lazy and complacent to actually do something to change it.

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