It seems as though a Pizza Hut is going to occupy the empty building at 5020 NE Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard – the building that last housed an adidas outlet store:
Trace Salmon wonders on the King Neighborhood Association blog just how beneficial a development this is for the neighborhood:
Long envisioned as a focal intersection in the plans to rejuvenate the King commercial district, the site has been plagued by poor foot traffic, no onstreet parking and a lack of commercial activity in the vicinity. With another large national chain expanding into the area, the continuing development of walkable communities with local identities is in question in King.
The Portland Development Commission’s Vanport Square project stalled after the first third was completed and is still not fully leased. The existing buildings on the south end of the site were bulldozed for a phase of the project that never began and removed a noise buffer from neighbors on Garfield Street.
Unable to wait indefinitely for economic conditions to change, private landowners are put in the postion of leasing to whomever can profit from the decreasing affluence of the community as customers with means patronize other neighborhoods. King could benefit from a renewed discussion about what we want our community to look like long-term and not wait for apathy or resignation to make that decision for us.
At the very least, it’s no comfort to fans of Old Town Pizza at Vanport Square to have a national chain set up shop just down the block.