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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Trader Joe's Deal Officially Dead

Posted by Dirk VanderHart on Tue, Apr 22, 2014 at 1:28 PM

The waffling over a proposed Trader Joe's at NE Alberta and MLK has officially killed North and Northeast Portlanders' best shot at conveniently purchasing the grocery chain's delicious Toaster Waffles.

Mayor Charlie Hales' office just announced Trader Joe's is standing by its decision to kill the project, despite pleas from city leaders.

An official from the grocery chain’s Los Angeles headquarters contacted the mayor on Friday with the news.

“I told them it was a shame because that section of Portland is vibrant and on the rise,” Hales said. “We’re confident that another, similar project will happen there, and I’m dedicated to making that happen.”

Hales said he will instruct the Portland Development Commission to restart the development project immediately. “We can start afresh,” he said, “but this time with better relationships, more input and a stronger result. We’re in a much better place as a result of the efforts to date.”

The project ran into problems beginning late last year, when a group called the Portland African American Leadership Forum (PAALF) lashed out at the city for subsidizing the deal by letting a $3 million plot of land go for $500,000. The group wondered where that sweetheart arrangement was when the neighborhood was still predominantly black.

Trader Joe's initial—and now apparently final—response: Fine then.

The chain told The Oregonian in February: "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."

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