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Thursday, June 12, 2008

News Downtown Retailer: “Brooks Brothers’ Complaints Forced Me Out.”

Posted by Matt Davis on Thu, Jun 12 at 4:12 PM

This week, in gentrification:
BROOKS BROTHERS: Too chi-chi to have people buying cigarettes opposite?

Downtown retailer Doug Peterson has owned his store on SW 10th and Morrison for 23 years. “I’m a downtown booster, I always have been,” he says. “I opened that store when the MAX was under construction and there were jackhammers all over the place. I saw the future for downtown Portland, and took advantage of it. “dougpeterson.jpg
Now, with the arrival of a Brooks Brothers store directly opposite, it appears Peterson’s welcome with the downtown business community and in turn, the city of Portland, which owns his store’s building, has worn out. He has until August 15th to get out.

Peterson owns three stores in downtown Portland, making $2.87m a year in sales. The Morrison Street store, which is his flagship store, makes annual sales of $1.4m.

I’m really very upset about this,” he says. “I haven’t really told my employees yet, I’ve been hoping I could do something quietly behind the scenes without attracting too much attention.”

The arrival of the Brooks Brothers store in the Galleria building opposite was greeted with glee by Portland Business Alliance boss Sandra McDonogh when she announced it to City Club in May, 2007. Brooks Brothers would have a “galvanizing and important effect on the West End of Downtown, she said. Yet that’s not how Peterson sees it, and the city, which has been charging Peterson $2935 a month to rent the space, says the store is now a problem location. Read the full story after the jump.

brooksbrosoutfit.jpg"Over the years, as you know, we have received, and observed, incidents that are objected to by other businesses in the immediate area, and that are offensive to users of the parking garage, and to passers-by," wrote Diana Lee Holuka, the city of Portland's property acquisition & services manager, in Peterson's eviction letter, dated April 9. "A recent escalation in complaints to us has led to this final decision regarding your tenancy," the letter continued. Download a scan of that letter here.

Peterson says his business is no different from Rite Aid, Nordstrom, or Pioneer Square, and thinks it's unfair that he's being targeted as a result of "gentrification." "It's difficult for me to patrol the sidewalks in front of my business," he continues. "As far as the behavior and appearance of my patrons, there's some civil rights issues there that I'd be stepping on."

Peterson points out that he has signed a good neighbor agreement with the city. "I don't sell cheap alcohol," he says. "No 40ozs or fortified wines, and I don't sell Steel Reserve or Old English 800. We have age restriction equipment on our cash registers and check ID very carefully, we don't have any OLCC programs there."

It's also been rumored at the city's monthly Public Safety Action Committee meetings that Peterson's sells single cigarettes, which is not true. This journalist knows because he was dying for a smoke a few weeks ago and went in on the basis of having heard the rumor.

"I've heard rumors all this is coming from Brooks Brothers," Peterson continues. "But my manager down there indicates that Brooks Brothers' employees are some of my best customers. So it must be coming from higher up."brookeybrookeywow.jpg

Peterson has written letters to all the city commissioners, and has been trying to gain the support of Mike Kuykendall of the PBA in his fight against eviction. You can read his letter to Dan Saltzman, and to Kuykendall, by clicking on their names.

But his complaints have fallen on deaf ears.

"Maybe he should have worked with his retail neighbors and cleaned up the neighborhood when he had the opporunity," says Megan Doern, a spokeswoman for the PBA. "It's not the first time he's been contacted about his store."

Doern adds that the forces behind Peterson's eviction are "not just Brooks Brothers," but "the entire downtown retail council," along with the Mayor's office.

"It's not about Brooks Brothers," she continues. "It's about the type of clients he has continued to attract and serve, and not work with the Portland Police Bureau to report the problems, and everything else that happens when there's something wrong with the store."

The mayor's office is yet to return a call for comment. Peterson says he now plans to send out a memo to the nine staff he'll have to fire when the store closes.


Next up: soup kitchens and homeless shelters...

Jeebus, man. The guy's store is 10 feet from the doors of the MAX trains that stop at 10th and Morrison. How can he be responsible for the actions of all the people that hop off the train or wait there to catch one?

This is a TriMet problem more than a Peterson's problem.

This town is rapidly morphing into a yuppie dystopia. Downtown is already halfway to being a quaint little upscale playground for the moderately wealthy.

The problem is the Max stop, it is the last one in fareless square. I lived kitty corner to this location for over a year, way before BB went in. If anything having BB there has made this block a bit better. I do miss the late night 911 calls.....

@4 I lived in that apartment too, for a year, I think it was in the 1970s. Third floor corner of the Eaton, right? That's a great view. Back in the day it was drag queens come out roaring drunk from the Bonfire or Virginia Cafe or Mary's, shrieking and throwing shoes. What a sight! I could have charged admission to LBGT social anthropologists from 2004 Antioch if I had a time machine.

My point - that corner has CHARACTER. It's a geographical vortex which happens RIGHT THERE and not 60 feet due NW, aka where Brooks Brothers is now. That other area, as would be well recognized by any metaphysical scientist, is a buffer zone, with an ABSENCE of CHARACTER. It's a shortcoming which those in the middle of the buffer, perhaps defined as "the doldrums" or "1963," are unable to cogitate their dilemma and lash out at other, perhaps more established, mature entities.

I'll remember Peterson's mostly for the terrifically weird zine clerks once produced, listing all the creeps and kooks and cranks that patronized the store, especially the Hudnell twins. A collector's item!

Doesn't really matter. Brooks Brothers will eventually bail because the galleria is cursed and every retail shop in that location fails rather quickly.

BB should have looked a tad closer to Sak's, Pearl, or Nordstrom's. WTF were they thinking putting an upscale men's clothing store in that location?

Thank goodness the city is getting rid of the riff raff. Am sure bb pays more in taxes to the city in a month than all the trouble makers combined pay in a year!good riddance to this magnet for trouble

That sucks, that store is in a great location and I can't imagine anything else doing well there. I mean how many different things has that space next to it been, a couple shoe stores, etc.
I've been shopping at that store for 11 years now, living downtown and not because it was always convenient.

this is what happens when the city starts owning property and leasing it out--the politics of increasing tax revenue starts kicking "lower class" business owners out. The government is always hungry for more money. I just don't get why more people in pdx can't figure out that more government will not solve every problem.

But at least it wasn't a private land owner doing this!!! (sarcasm if you can't tell)

This isn't about someone wanting Peterson OUT of his space; it's about someone discreetly WANTING that space. Bet ya a cigarette.
Hope he sues.

San Francisco treat. Fucking commie Portland Business Alliance has big plans for downtown and it doesn't include cigarette buying, beer can drinking folks...Or convenience for that matter, apparently.

I just wish all these assholes would jump and start really trying to implement their BS, full scale. then we could storm their asses with pitchforks.

Well, to be fair, downtown is an odd place for a mini-mart. If you need a Slim Jim and cigs, you don't have to make a trek into into town for it.

To # 7...have you walked passed Nordstroms, Rite Aid, Jakes, Pioneer Square, etc.....the "riff raff" as you so call it, hang out there too....So, you think IF Peterson's closes the "riff raff" will go away??

Oh for real #5. All us LBGT cross dressers love that store. It's where you go late at night.

What are you talking about, James (@12)?

There are plenty of people who live, work, or happen to be in downtown who need Slim Jims, candy bars, or some kind of drink. I don't work close to Peterson's, but I frequently visit an equally squalid -- and equally useful -- convenience store near my office.

I mean, I would probably need to visit Peterson's store 100 times more frequently than I would Brooks Brothers.

I cannot BELIEVE that PETERSON'S won't be there anymore!!!! Pretty soon Portland will be hanging la de da flags from the streetlights. This is not the wonderful, wierd, funkytown I fell in love with....Portland I don't know you anymore.

Oh please, that whole block smells like pee. What is Brooks Brothers going to do about that? There is only so much Polo in the world.

I bet #11 is right. If PBA has their way, it'll be a restaurant straight outta 23rd in 3 years.

This is terrible news.

Is there an online petition or something I can sign to keep Peterson's there? Yeah, mini marts usually attract a less than upscale clientele, but that's true of every area I've lived in. Hell, on my morning run in Arbor Lodge today, I nearly collided with a staggering drunk guy (at 6:30 AM!) coming out of one.

Neighborhoods NEED mini marts. Not just for smokes and beer, but for when you need milk at the asscrack of dawn or cough syrup in the middle of the night. One of my biggest complaints about the Pearl was that there were no mini marts with decent hours and stock that included something other than unbleached organic cotton tampons and humanely-raised turkey jerky.

Gentrifying neighborhoods might try to get rid of the mini marts and the like, but they only end up shooting themselves in their Cole Haan-clad feet.

moot point. the whole garage will be torn down and a john carroll tower will go in its place in a matter of years. the ball is already rolling, folks.

Peterson says he's willing to put money into redeveloping his store, and move out temporarily, while the redevelopment happens.

They should tear down the whole building.

I'm telling you, it is SOAKED IN PEE.

"I'm telling you, it is SOAKED IN PEE."

I'm fairly certain this is the building about which Lili Mandel once complained, citing the "golden showers" coming from the garage's upper levels.

I am a cashier/clerk at Peterson's.

The Street People and Panhandlers have a special name for me and my coworkers.... "A**hole"

Why? Because we do the "City's" job by making the Galleria Max Station a less desirable location to LOITER, We won't sell them any alcohol either, PERIOD, and they hate us for that.

The Riff Raff are there because the MAX stop provides a constant stream of people to "Spange"
(panhandle) from, not because Peterson's is there.
We're the ones runnin' em off when were not busy
attending to our customers.

Clean and Safe's hands are tied when it comes to running off the less desirable, no doubt from "Lawsuitaphobia"

Bottom Line: The City has plans to redevelop that area,
and they don't want some convenience store nearby to scare off investors.
They just tore down the whole block next door to make way for a new high rise, so the parking structure is next,
then eventually the building B.B is in will follow, etc. etc.

progress ad nauseam human history same ol, etc., etc.

Stop in and say Hi everybody !

Tell em Sluggo sent ya.

No one cared about the bums, etc. before. MAX especially. Fred Hansen had to get his ass whipped by the State Legislature before he did anything about safety on MAX and it still isn't enough. Witness the recent mugging on the Yellow Line. Someone wants this building and they're going to get it. Goodbye Downtown Portland, I've been going there since birth in the stroller and what made it great is going, going, gone. Change is fine, but generic yuppification to make the select few more comfy is not. BTW, Anderson's had a great magazine selection and I ran in there to buy lottery tickets, the paper, a pop, etc. It is a very handy store @ a handy location!

# 24.....well said!!!!

#26.....Thank You =)

Just like Seattle sold it's soul, so does Portland. Is anyone really surprised?

Before I got into social work and eventually the street newspaper movement I worked at convenience stores - including Peterson's at the Morrison location, but mostly I worked midnights at the 4th Ave. store.

In fact, when I first applied for Janus Youth way back in the day they asked me if I had any social work experience. Beyond growing up a hoodlum, I told them yes, in fact I did. I had worked at midnight at Peterson's and other convenient stores.

Point is. It's a hard fucking job w/very little training beyond making it up on the fly and hoping someone doesn't cross the line and do something stupid. So kudos to #24.

But ultimately Peterson's serves everyone. I'm sure the developers have good reasons - to make money - but ultimately the idea that Peterson's is responsible for attracting street people, etc. more than other businesses has less to do w/Peterson's business approach and more to do w/the fact that all classes and creeds frequent convenient stores. There's not an American alive that doesn't.

I'm sad to see Peterson's go on Morrison. They are a staple in our community.

#28 - I couldn't agree more.

Also: Try finding a coin-op laundromat in NW. Same deal.

Welcome to PortlandWorld (tm), where everything is shiny and sustainable and safe.

Fuck, a downtown is SUPPOSED to have some grit. I'm starting to feel like I live in the middle of a goddam shopping mall.

And the PBA, for the record, are a gang of neo-facist thugs.

This really bothers me. The store has been there longer than anything else down there. Everyone knows it is the Max that keeps the people loitering down there.

When I lived down town it was the only place to get necessities in the late night.

I really want to do something about this.

Great news that the cesspool of a building is going to eventually come down!! It is one big urinal. Underground parking eliminates the several stories high parking/bathroom areas. Less access. Goodbye Petersons.....long overdue.

This is bullshit, I live downtown and go to that place all the time and I've never had a problem mostly BECAUSE that place exists. Shutter it and it's going to get super sleazy and dangerous.

It's the closest place to me to get something to eat late at night, it's a good place to buy a drink while you're waiting for the MAX or changing lines. It'd be moronic to not let them continue to do business.

Apparently it hasn't dawned on #12 that people actually LIVE downtown.

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