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Sunday, December 31, 2006

Not yuppie enough

Just another sign that an actual business that actually makes something is not welcome in Portland any more -- particularly if it's already been here for a while. Get out and make way for another Starbucks, dang it!

Comments (39)

I've lived in the neighborhood 12 years and always assumed it was a drug front or money-laundering operation. It's dusty and filthy, and I never see customers and only very rarely any employees inside. So I'm not so convinced that they actually make anything there.

But, it does look like your pal loves this place as well:

I'd prefer a hardware store there instead.

Yeah, well chase them out, and you'll probably say hello to corporate coffee or a cell phone store. A hardware store ain't gonna happen.

There's plenty of heroin in that 'hood, but it ain't coming from Dixie Mattress.

I always figured that Dixie Mattress must own the property, otherwise they would have been squeezed out long ago. The value of the storefront as retail space has skyrocketed in the last twenty years. Like Nick's Coney Island or Fred's Sound of Music over on Hawthorne, it is one of the last remnants of pre-yuppification inner southeast portland. I do appreciate what it preserves about the the character of the neighborhood, but still I have to wince at the confederate battle flag.

haha...I like the anti-corporate rallying cry, but I have a hard time getting behind the 'ol Dixie. Maybe next time.

Let's hope and pray to the equity gods that the facade stays. Hopefully Mr. Rappaport doesn't swoop in and plop another of mega apartment there. We like low-rise Southeast Portland. High-rise is passe'.

Thanks for the discussion around my post. I'm very much with you, Jack. I hate how NE Mississippi is skipping the process of gentrification altogether and going straight from accessible diversity to exclusionary luxury. And, as I said in my post, I'm all for recycling, reuse, supporting local business, etc. Some of my favorite shops are old, hole-in-the-wall family-run places. My point is that there is no reason whatsoever for Dixie Mattress Co. to crap all over SE Belmont and it's neighbors by completely neglecting the storefront, letting everything fall apart and be covered with dust. Think I'm exaggerating? Pay them a visit. It's absolutely disgusting.

I understand your point, Jack. Longtime SE businesses shouldn't be run out b/c they don't fit with the new aesthetic. But I'm not sure if there's alot of support to rally around the dixie flag.
Now, if this guy had it in to shut down the Avalon/Electric Castle, he'd have a real fight on his hands... and it wouldn't be pretty.
Cheers, all!

Can I start a Portland Hall of Business Shame? Pretty please?

The first candidates would be any business that spells their name in all goddam cutesy lower-case letters, or expresses their menu in decimals ("Salade: 8.5").

Come to think of it, I'd never get around to a second tier. I'd be too busy.

Here's another one from the same guy. Let's have every business look like Bridgeport Village. Frappuccinos for all!

Starbucks, Crickets wireless anyone? Seriously, this guy must be a recent So Cal transplant. These type businesses make SE the best place to live in Portland. Chill, low key. Why didn't anyone sell this ahole a home in Alberta overpriced by 200k? I expect better from my Portland brethren.

I do appreciate what it preserves about the the character of the neighborhood, but still I have to wince at the confederate battle flag.

What the heck does it preserve about the "character of the neighborhood?" It is a total eyesore, occupying three huge storefronts on Belmont. All three are covered in bars (to keep people from stealing mattresses?), and one of the three has windows beautifully painted gray. Drive down Belmont on a Saturday at about 7, and you'll see brightly lit windows, pedestrians walking along, everyone happy...all except for the three storefronts of DMC, which will be closed, dark, and unwelcoming. It attracts litter, graffiti, and there's not a day that goes by that I don't pray that they leave.

The simple fact that it has been there a long time does not magically confer upon it some sort of privileged status or mean that it deserves anyone's respect. You need to be a good neighbor, act like a good citizen, and do your part to keep the street looking good. DMC does none of that.

I'm surprised anyone would defend (to say nothing of actually buying from) a business that displays what is the equivalent of an American Nazi swastika.

Oregon and Portland have a long history of KKK activity, primarily antiCatholic as I understand it (but no doubt not limited to that group) dating to the 1920s at least.

Read a little about it here... I'm sure better sources are available.

I'm offended every time I pass that store. What rock did these people crawl out from under and how can we get them to crawl back under it?

There's nothing cute about that flag or what it stands for. It's a live symbol, and it stands for the most vicious racism, the kind that was once institutionalized across the American south and thrived ideologically (and legally) in Oregon too. The "heritage" that some say it celebrates is something we should want to have nothing to do with in our neighborhoods or state.

Not "yuppie enough"? How about not human enough.

Nothing like a little ethnic cleansing for Steve and his buds.

Who's next?

Went in there about four years ago with a friend who was looking for a decent quality yet inexpensive mattress for his kid's bed. He found just what he wanted, a good firm mattress at a good price. As a former government employee he was pleased to learn that it was made right there, on the premises, by people who were paying taxes to the same bureaucracies that he supported. A year or two later he mentioned to me that that "cheap mattress" he got at Dixie turned out to be one of the better deals he'd come across in quite while.

Tear that mutha down and replace it with a company that only sells fair-trade, shade-grown, sustainable mattresses, imported from Central America and not made on the premises!

We have Portland STANDARDS to uphold, people!

C'mon, Ronald. Thats irrelevant in trendy 'ol Portland.

Its not "pretty", and they have a controversial sign.

Went in there about four years ago with a friend who was looking for a decent quality yet inexpensive mattress for his kid's bed. He found just what he wanted, a good firm mattress at a good price.

Interestingly, the folks at Dixie Mattress also tell this story, for that was their most recent customer.

regardless how you might feel about the cutesy, lower-case, decimal-friendly, trendy portland businesses, you have to admit that dixie's storefront was so inhospitable it gave many (including me) the impression that it was not actually a functioning retail store. and that's just bad business. not to mention, as a southerner, i was perplexed and frankly unnerved by the confederate flags. they may as well have put up swastikas, i wasn't going to shop there.

A question: have any of the people lauding the greatness of Dixie Mattress Company here actually shopped there? I've actually gone in there, and the interior (including customer "service") is as lousy and unwelcoming as the exterior. I have the feeling that the only reason some people extoll the virtues of such a place is because the trendy/hip people hate it.

I doubt the place has many virtues. But it shouldn't be run out of the neighborhood just because it doesn't fit in with the creative class hipster groove. Unless it's violating some law or ordinance, the company can do what it wants with its property.

I think their claim to fame is making custom sizes. My girlfriend has an antique bed that is wider than a twin, but shorter than a queen. Dixie mattress built one for her.

No question about it - a truly butt ugly place and I do remember that the lady behind the counter was rather brusque. Actually a bit of a Tugboat Annie type. But then, we weren't there for smiles and strokes and, not being residents of the neighborhood, I assumed that all the bars were on the windows because the locals were practioners of some variant of a liberation theology. You know, typical hip/trendy Portlanders.

I think Steve's attack on Imperial Office Machine demonstrates that the main issue here isn't the appropriateness of flying the Confederate flag over at DMC.
We're dealing with those that seem hell-bent to remake just about everything and everyplace in this town in their own image, which seems to be of the rather generic, yuppie clone-a-rama variety, without so much as a hint of understanding or appreciation of this town's quirks and oddities- the kind of stuff that made this a unique town in the first place.
No, I've never bought anything at DMC, but after years of passing by the place, I can't say it ever struck me as someplace that needed to be gotten rid of.
So with Imperial Office now on the S... List, the question many of us ask is, "What local fixtures are next to wind up on the 'undesirable list?"
The 'Vern?
Triple Nickel?

I thought being liberal, like so many neighbors to Dixie, profess open-mindness, freedom of expression/speech, acceptance of others, the list goes on.

Yes, Dixie can make odd shaped mattresses for a boat, RV, or antique bed.

And when does being "butt ugly" a design standard that requires the elimination of a business? Close down the Portland Building with Portlandia then-and it is darker than Dixie inside. The bars have been on the windows for longer than many of you have been alive, for other reasons. Belmont had a crime problem that many businesses had to endure, and maybe still does-I haven't read the past few years of crime statistics. And for all the other businesses/homes that have bars, lets close them down too. The Portland Police use to advise use of bars for businesses/homes having crime problems.

Glad to see the great debate around my post. Dave J. is right. I'm betting that those of you bent on defending Dixie Mattress don't live near it -- as I do, thank you -- and many have probably never been there. There is nothing at all to defend.

Also, please actually read the post before commenting on it. Nowhere do I even imply that Dixie should be shut down as many of you are getting up in arms about. I said they should clean up their business to be a better neighbor. In fact, I even said I'd consider giving them my business if they did clean up.

To those of you who stooped to personal attacks, grow up. I don't need to justify your insults with a response, but I will say that I've lived in Southeast Portland -- blocks from Dixie -- for over 8 years. I actively advocate for shopping locally and responsibly. Anyone who knows me would fall over laughing at the idea of me being called a yuppie.

Those of you trying to twist my words and act like Dixie is some local hero make me feel sorry for your neighbors. Look in the mirror. You're so busy trying not to be yuppie, corporate, trendy, hip or whatever other word you've come up with to assign the people you choose to discriminate against that you've become your own worst nightmare -- falling all over each other in your clique of anti-hipster indy... hipsters.

Jack et al, please don't tell me you're so afraid of change that you'd defend a racist symbol like that.

Screw you Steve. Why not just move to Lake Oswego, so your precious sense of aesthetics won't ever have to be offended again.

Wow, some classy comments. I thought Steve made a quite legitimate set of points. Clearly, those attacking him didn't actually read what he said about Dixie - he never advocated shutting them down, here merely asked, as a neighbor of theirs, that they be less of an eyesore. And, perhaps, less offensive. As a son of the South, I can certainly appreciate the deep, serious pain that a symbol like the Stars and Bars can cause people. And I can understand why such a symbol, especially combined with the general disreputable and shabby appearance of the store, might make Dixie's neighbors ask them to clean up their act a bit.

But it appears some folks, like Lisa, seem so hell-bent on terrorizing anyone they deem part of the evil hipster brigades that they don't bother to actually check the facts.

Wow, some classy comments.

That's the quick way out of here.

merely asked, as a neighbor of theirs, that they be less of an eyesore. And, perhaps, less offensive.

Some neighbor. And he made no mention of the racist flag -- he's equally unhappy with the typewriter place on Hawthorne. People whose properties don't match his aesthetic are simply not to be tolerated.

"Anyone who knows me would fall over laughing at the idea of me being called a yuppie."

My guess is that most commenters had another term in mind.

He's also justifiably unhappy about the shoddy conditions at the 39th/Hawthorne Fred Meyer. Part of running a business, whether you are a huge national chain running a large grocery store or a small mattress company, is to be a good neighbor people around you. He's identified businesses that don't do this, and I say more power to him.

Y'all defending that place with the Confederate flag sign remind me of an old saying, "Long hair hides a red neck." Y'all must have your medical marijuana cards up to date, because you sure are smoking something good if you think patronizing that place doesn't support the racist message represented by its sign.

The Stars And Bars wasn't the issue here. Steve's beef was that the store doesn't fit with the yuppie paradise that Portland has become in the 21st Century.

"People whose properties who do not match his asthetic are simple not to be tolerated" Bo Jack

This reminds me of the Bureau of Building's Nuisance/Asthetic police. A few years ago an inspector cited a property with furniture on the covered porch, a tree 10 ft from the house (might cause damage), house having no gutters even though the house never had gutters since it was built in 1894, missing handrails on the porch even though the porch was only a few inches above grade, etc.

As Willamette Week reported, the same citing inspector's own house had no gutters, had steps with unequal riser heights, bare-unpainted surfaces, yard debris piles, a detached garage built without a required building permit, etc.

Being good neighbors with appropriate asthetics is neighborly. But sometimes it can lead to someone losing their home as reported by the media and having the "police" make a profit on it, or to harass a citizen. There is a fine dividing line and I tend to side with the property owner who pays their taxes and all.

The flag isn't the issue? It may not have been Steve's issue or Jack's issue, but it should be.

It's funny how people can have an argument about aesthetics and ignore the moral issue. It's a little like Leni Riefenstahl arguing that her glorification of Nazi atheletes should be judged purely in aesthetic terms and not political ones, as if "the only issue is the beauty."

I don't mind a rundown mattress store much although it's understandable that Steve asked them to clean up, but we should all mind a rundown mattress store with a racist symbol on it.

When you find yourself having an argument about aesthetics while ignoring something like that flag staring you in the face I think you've kind of lost your moral compass.

And no, there are not 2 legitimate sides to the argument about what that flag means. There is a racist (or willfully ignorant) side and there is a mainstream inclusive and historically informed side, and we would all do well to figure out which of those sides we want to be on.

Hi Mr. Bog,

I was just wondering where my comments went? Do you have a set policy of how you censor reader response, and if so, could you direct me to the source? If you have me on moderation, would you do me the service of sending me an email to explain why my comments were erased?

Thanks for your time.


Gee, that's a lot more civil than what I removed. Try your comment again. Be polite and don't call people names. Stay on the topic -- don't attack people.

This is ridiculous.

The Dixie Mattress Co has been only sporadically open since I moved to Portland for the first time in 1998. It's been a dingy, oft-closed eyesore everyone I've ever known has assumed to be a drug front for at least 9 years, to say nothing of the racist emblem displayed above the top of their windows.

That's not a business worth defending. If they want to clean up the storefront, maintain hours like a real business and not be a blight, fine. Until the store makes a little effort to act like a *** store, I see no reason anyone should defend it.

It seems like there's a whole effort mobilizing to defend a company because they dislike the origin of the post condemning it, not because the company deserves the slightest bit of defending.

I'm not defending anybody. I'm asserting that the blogger's criticism (which made no mention of the flag symbol) is misguided. There's a difference.

BTW, you can't say "f*cking" on this blog.


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