Portland African American Leadership Forum: We love vacant lots more than jobs, Trader Joe’s

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.