Trader Joe's says no to Northeast Portland

After months of controversy, Trader Joe’s announced Monday that they will not build a store in Northeast Portland.

The store was to be the anchor tenant of a planned development by Majestic Realty, a California-based company that has a deal to buy land at MLK and Alberta from the Portland Development Corporation.

While the land had been assessed at nearly $3 million, PDC approved a deal that would have sold it to Majestic for just over $500,000.

That deal was soundly criticized by members of the community who felt the store would have been out of place and other example of gentrification forcing out the area’s traditional black community.

In a letter to community leaders, PDC Executive Director Patrick Quinton and Mayor Charlie Hales had admitted to the “destructive” impacts gentrification had had on the community but tried to assure the community Trader Joe’s would be a good fit.

Community leaders didn’t buy it and Trader Joe’s cited community opposition as a major reason for their decision.

"When it comes to choosing Trader Joe's store locations, we are deliberate and work hard to develop store sites with great potential for success,” a company spokesman told KATU. “We run neighborhood stores and our approach is simple: if a neighborhood does not want a Trader Joe’s, we understand and we won’t open the store in question.”

On Monday, the PDC and Mayor Charlie Hales' office issued a joint release. "We respect today’s decisions by Trader Joe’s and Majestic. We appreciate the various concerns raised by neighbors and other stakeholders, both in favor of, and opposed to, this project."

Mayor Hales and Mr. Quinton released a statement expressing disappointment in the decision.

“We respect today’s decision by Trader Joe’s and Mahestic,” they wrote. “We appreciate the various concerns raised by neighbors and other stakeholders, both in favor of, and opposed to, this project.

“In all, we view today’s news as a loss for the city and particularly Northeast Portland.”