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Mayor Says He'll Begin Effort To Bring Trader Joe's Back To NE Portland Lot

Portland Mayor Charlie Hales says he’s beginning a campaign to bring Trader Joe’s back to a stalled project in Northeast Portland.

The mayor said he met with leaders of the African-American community, neighborhood and business representatives  Monday.  They discussed policies that led to gentrification in Northeast Portland, and a path to development in the Interstate corridor urban renewal area.

Hales said he and his staff will look into whether the deal can be resurrected. Trader Joe’s would have been the anchor tenant of a development on a vacant lot on Northeast Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Alberta Street. The company dropped out of the deal last month, after the Portland African-American Leadership Forum raised questions about the transparency of the process used to come up with the development plan.

Monday’s meeting also resulted in a commitment by the Portland Development Commission to work with the Portland Housing Bureau to invest an additional $20 million over five years for more affordable housing in the area.

The PDC proposal will require support of the PDC Board of Commissioners and the Portland City Council.

The mayor’s press release quoted Cyreena Boston Ashby, PAALF’s director, who emphasized that PAALF was never opposed to Trader Joe’s, but  fought for a  conversation about stabilizing displacement, stopping gentrification, and addressing what she called a lack of transparency and community engagement in the city’s land development.  She said PAALF now believes these issues are getting the attention they deserve, and welcomed the additional $20 million in additional housing dollars.

Hales thanked the community leaders who attended the meeting— about 50 people in all.

On the Web

Think Out Loud: A Northeast Portland Follow-up: Development And Trader Joe’s

Think Out Loud: Portland African-American Leadership Forum Talks Gentrification and Development