UPDATE: Portland’s mayor had planned a trip to Los Angeles to meet with store officials Monday. That trip is off, but he plans to continue talks, according to a news release out Friday.
The release said the meeting was cancelled due to a scheduling conflict and that Trader Joe’s officials called Friday to apologize.
The store was planned for a parcel on Martin Luther King Blvd.
The city and the NAACP hope to get the project going again.
The push to bring a Trader Joe’s grocery to a city-owned lot in Northeast Portland is back on.
A spokesman says Mayor Charlie Hales will fly to Los Angeles next Monday and meet with top officials at Trader Joe’s and ask them to reconsider their decision to pull out of a proposed Northeast Portland development.
Trader Joe’s abandoned the deal after African-American community members criticized the city for selling the lot to developers at a bargain price and encouraging gentrification.
At a press conference Thursday, Portland NAACP chapter president Audrey Terrell said the controversy had sparked good conversation, and said her group will support development of the site.
This project has a potential to be a starting point for changing the face of economic development in this city,” she said.
Terrell said she was swayed by the developer’s willingness to get on the phone with community groups and listen to their concerns, and by the mayor’s commitment of an extra $20 million for affordable housing in the Interstate Corridor urban renewal area.
Trader Joe’s did not respond to a request for comment. The Portland African American Leadership Forum, which raised concerns about the original development proposal, also did not immediately respond to a request for comment.