America loves community organizers so much, we put one in the White House and we’re keeping him there for at least eight years. And now, here’s another reason organizers of communities are so great!
You’d think Trader Joe’s and Portland would go together like TJ’s fair-trade peanut butter and TJ’s organic, cruelty-free jelly. Not so, according to Jon Gabriel at Ricochet.com:
Trader Joe’s wanted to build a new store in Portland, Oregon. Instead of heading to a tony neighborhood downtown or towards the suburbs, the popular West Coast grocer chose a struggling area of Northeast Portland…
Then some community organizers caught wind of it.
The fact that most members of the Portland African-American Leadership Forum didn’t live in the neighborhood was beside the point…
After a few months of racially tinged accusations and angry demands, Trader Joe’s decided it wasn’t worth the hassle. “We run neighborhood stores and our approach is simple,” a corporate statement said. “If a neighborhood does not want a Trader Joe’s, we understand, and we won’t open the store in question.”
Hours after Trader Joe’s pulled out, PAALF leaders arrived at a previously scheduled press conference trying to process what just happened. The group re-issued demands that the now-cancelled development include affordable housing, mandated jobs based on race, and a small-business slush fund. Instead, the only demand being met is two fallow acres and a lot of anger from the people who actually live nearby.
Portland. Out of all the places in the U.S. where Trader Joe’s wants to expand, they got chased out of Portland.