Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Portland

You’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t when it comes to race hustlers. If you stay far away from places that look like Eastern European nations that wrestled (and lost) with Communism, you’re racist. If you offer to bring jobs to the community, you’re really part of some sort of Machiavellian plan to “oppress” people, so the vacant lot just sits there for another decade.

The Associated Press reported:

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — 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 lot is at Northeast Alberta Street and Northeast Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and has been vacant for years. …

[The Portland African American Leadership Forum] 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.”

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.

How would it feel if you were part of a black construction company with your tools all ready to go, and then you were told that the grocery store that would have brought quality produce — and jobs — to the local population at affordable prices was ditched because activists determined a vacant parking did a better job of benefiting the black community? How would you feel if you were a young person who figured a job at Trader Joe’s would have been an ideal stepping stone to bigger and better things, but the “leaders” in your community squashed it because empty lots of grass and weeds baking in the summer sun were something that would guarantee “non-oppressed populations” stay far away?

It becomes increasingly hard to blame guys like Mitt Romney, the tea party, conservatives, Republicans, “non-oppressed populations” and any other boogeyman for the plight of neighborhoods like this when the people who live there perpetually allow “leaders” to set them up for failure. How convenient is it that whether or not jobs are brought to the area, the members of The Portland African American Leadership Forum always find a way to get paid?

Sane people everywhere salute you for trying, Trader Joe’s. They also salute you for walking away when it became obvious you were dealing with “leaders” like The Portland African American Leadership Forum.

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About the Author Douglas Ernst

I'm a former Army guy who believes success comes through hard work, honesty, optimism, and perseverance. I believe seeing yourself as a victim creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. I believe in God. I'm a USC Trojan with an MA in Political Science from American University.

17 comments

  1. Yeah, I posted about this last week. It’s beyond ridiculous. My daughter works at a TJ’s and the prices, if anything, are lower than those at the major chains. And how many articles have been written about [black] obesity in inner cities b/c “wholesome foods” aren’t readily available? Well, here’s a golden opportunity and you’re pissing it away. Unreal.

    1. Man, the race hustlers are really stupid. This is an excellent opportunity to bring economic prosperity to that neighborhood, but no, they turn it down because it would bring “non-oppressed” peoples there, or some such nonsense. But it’s okay for these Sharptonesque clowns to make money off of grievances? Something that’s not right there. Way to destroy potential future jobs, people.

    2. Thanks for the link, Hube! I appreciate it. Yeah, I was a little behind on this story, but like you said, it’s unreal that they chased Trader Joe’s away. I did a Google street view of the area and … umm, yeah. There was zero reason to turn Trader Joe’s down, particularly if the lot has been sitting there empty for years.

    1. TJ’s does pay well. My daughter (a college student) is tickled with her hourly rate. And there are numerous full-timers who make out well, too.

    2. I’ve heard about that. I’ve also heard that they have great prices as well. The closest one to me is about 30-40 miles away, closer to the Twin Cities, so I’ve never been there.

    3. If I recall, Trader Joes is often mentioned with Costco as a company who pays its employees pretty well. If Portland continues to shrug off development they may turn into another Detroit.

      And when that happens, the Portland African American Leadership Forum will accuse companies purposely avoiding the area. Classic. Again, it’s like we’re living in the Twilight Zone.

  2. They should have been biting the company’s arm off. It sounds like an excellent opportunity.

    I have never heard of Trader Joe’s. But if they were willing to pit investment into the area what is the problem?

    1. The problem is that people who have respectable jobs soon realize that they don’t need “leaders” like the Portland African American Leadership Forum speaking on their behalf.

    2. That is a scary, but probably true statement. Trader joes will pay people well, give jobs, teach management/merchandising/inventory/basic bookkeeping skills that can benefit for a lifetime; and be an outlet for healthier food…..seems win win to me; but the Leadership Forum is motivated by fear….sad.

    3. We truly are living in the Twilight Zone. This was an excellent opportunity, and they’ve squandered it. Unbelievable. A complete lack of common sense and fearmongering on the Leadership Forum’s part.

    4. More evidence that civil rights activists and “community leaders” are more interested in perpetuating their sinecures than in helping the people in their communities.

    5. Good point, Tom. They’re more concerned about lining their own pockets than they are actually helping improve the community. The racial grievance industry is a million dollar industry and has made people like Al Sharpton and Jesse “Hymietown” Jackson rich.

    6. The Trader Joe’s in Portland imbroglio reminds me of how there was once a proposal for a racetrack near the town where I went to high school, that would’ve provided a much-needed boost to the local economy, but it was squashed by a combination of radical environmentalists and an inept city council.

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