The Trader Joe’s grocery store chain recently announced that it no longer plans to open a store in a predominately African-American neighborhood in Portland after activists claimed the store’s prices weren’t affordable for Black families.
Local community leaders and activists said on Feb. 3 that opening a Trader Joe’s in the historically Black neighborhood would “increase the desirability of the neighborhood for non-oppressed populations” and risk gentrifying the neighborhood.
In a statement to EurWeb, the Portland African American Leadership Forum said having a somewhat pricey food store in their Portland neighborhood would displace residents and perpetuate income inequality in the area.
A letter sent to city officials from the group said it would “remain opposed to any development in north/northeast Portland that does not primarily benefit the Black community.”
“We run neighborhood stores, and our approach is simple,” the grocery chain said in a statement. “If a neighborhood does not want a Trader Joe’s, we understand, and we won’t open the store in question.”
The company told The Oregonian that it wouldn’t press its plans for the store, given community resistance. Trader Joe’s are located throughout the country in urban neighborhoods.
According to The Oregonian, the store would have been located on a vacant lot on Northeast Alberta Street and Northeast Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.
California-based developed Majestic Realty Co. planned to build an $8 million retail strip mall on the site, which included the Trader Joes and 10 other retailers. The developer called Trader Joe’s decision a major “loss for the city.” Future plans for the vacant lot have not been determined.