“We’re here protesting the PDC and the role that they have played in this community for the last 50 or 60 years,” Gilliam said. “They control our development, and they provided a $2.5 million subsidy, approximately, to one of the richest families in America, in order for them to further their real estate business. That money could be used for job training, it could be used for housing, it could be used to fund our education. It could be used for any number of things that could help stabilize this community.” –Steve Gilliam, talking to The Skanner
“The PDC might as well throw us a farewell party planned for the day this new big box market opens,” Cherry Sprout owners Amanda Wiles and Katherine S. Nichols wrote in a letter to the PDC on Nov. 14, the day after Trader Joe’s was confirmed as the mystery tenant. –quoted in the Oregonian
Join North/Northeast Business Association and the community at the 2nd Annual Community Tree Lighting Celebration. Experience the wonder of the holiday season the Sunday of November 30 at the PDC MLK Gateway on the corner of NE Schuyler, Hancock and Grand Avenue. This wonderful community ceremony will begin at 5:00pm with the lighting at 5:30, live music and entertainment by local artists, and a raffle for prizes.
Something I missed entirely, from January of this year:
“In northeast Portland, Oregon on a typically overcast Saturday afternoon on January 5th 2013, an act of snowy civil disobedience was about to take place. Along a particularly dismal stretch of 5 lane surface highway sits an unremarkable Chevron petrol station. Motorists loudly race by, occasionally slowing and pulling into the station to fill their vehicles full of refined gasoline, or maybe to charge a plastic bottle of high-fructose corn soda to their debit card. The air smelled faintly of benzene. Nothing out of the ordinary, just another day at a gas station. All of this was about to change.
“Dozens, then hundreds, then what seemed like thousands of snowballs were crossing the grey sky. A manic winter mayhem had begun. What few cars remained at the station soon had left, and no other vehicles were able to pull up to the pumps for a solid forty-five minutes as this jovial chaos ensued. The Chevron station was effectively shut down.
A coalition of concerned citizens will gather this Sunday to protest a decision made by the Portland Development Commission (PDC) that will further exacerbate gentrification in the neighborhoods of North and Northeast Portland.
Date: Sunday, November 17
Time: 11am – 1pm
Location: Northwest corner of MLK and Alberta
The PDC has voted to give away $2.4 million in taxpayer dollars to a billionaire family for the development of the national grocery chain on Northeast Martin Luther King Boulevard and Alberta. In this age of service reductions, school closures, layoffs and budget cuts, the PDC hopes this subsidy for billionaires – which includes the co-owner of LA Lakers who is pursuing acquisition of his 3rd professional sports team – will trickle down to benefit the “under-served community.”
This development will occur in one of the fastest gentrifying zip codes in the nation (where rental vacancy times have recently dropped to a stunning eight days). Over the past decades, the PDC has contributed to the rapid displacement of traditionally African American and low-income residents living in North and Northeast Portland. This abuse of taxpayers dollars will continue to fuel a massive amount of new private investments – micro-apartments, skyrocketing rents, real estate speculation, that will continue to transform this community into an unlivable red-line for low-income residents.
There are obvious concerns about whether the PDC should subsidize Majestic Realty Company when there are 4 grocery stores that offer commercial and organic choices within a mile and a half of the site. There are true food deserts in our city, mostly in East Portland, that continue to be overlooked for equitable public resources.
In addition, this deal constructed by the Portland Development Commission was far from transparent. The recommendation for a grocery store project was developed by a committee over a decade ago. No public forum has been provided to re-evaluate this recommendation in over 5 years. The general public was not informed of the ‘mystery grocery store’ until days before the PDC Board brought their secret agreement to a vote.
Despite a long history of unfulfilled promises for remedies, the city bureaucracy has failed to see this property as an opportunity to bring together neighbors and community members affected by gentrification about what our vision is, for our public land.
We must try harder to hold the PDC to higher standards – more accountability, more transparency, and stronger focus on equity.