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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on February 8, 2007 12:59 PM. The previous post in this blog was Slogan of the Week. The next post in this blog is The Hawthorne project. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.



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Thursday, February 8, 2007

Setback for MLK

It's hard not to be saddened by the impending closure of the Adidas retail store on MLK Boulevard in Portland. It was spendy and a bit out of place, but like the nearby Nike outlet store, it was a symbol of confidence and pride in the neighborhood, setting the place a little higher on the global mercantile ladder.

That area will continue to make strides, of course, even without Adidas. But I'm baffled by a comment attributed earlier this week to Willie Brown, the interim executive director of the Northeast Coalition of Neighborhoods:

Whoever moves in, Brown said, should be prepared to work closely with the community.

"If you're coming," he said, "you're going to be a part of it, or we'll make sure you don't come."

Now, Brown is no Joe Biden, but I suspect that isn't what he really meant to say. Is it?

Comments (20)

not in front of the media, anyway

so, I guess this means the welcome mat is out...

if you'll just fit in...

There is so much empty space on MLK, one would think there'd be room for everybody.

I think it just shows that personalities trump common sense. Whether you're talking about SoWa or MLK, one man's, one woman's (read Vera), or one group's myopia and prejudices can suck all the life out of good ideas. The empty shells scattered around this town are a testament to narrow focus, narrow minds and rigid rules.

Gee, sounds nearly as blatant a statement as Ray Nagin in New Orleans. A dark chocolate candy store would be welcome, but not a white chocolate one?

"The empty shells scattered around this town are a testament to narrow focus, narrow minds and rigid rules."


They're a testament to overproduction of retail space both in cities and the burbs, the glut of overpriced, mass produced crapola, and an economy where people are realizing their up to their eyeballs in debt.

BTW is it just me or does it seem like sneakers aren't good for your feet? They scrunch your toes and seem to be prime incubators for atheletes foot fungus.

PG, let's not accelerate this. As I wrote, I doubt that that is what Brown intended to say. It could use some clarification, is all.

I think what he meant to say was something along the lines of "we have high hopes that the new tenants of that space will be as interested in working with the community as the good people from Adidas, and we look forward to working with them." What he said instead sounded slightly combative. I'm sometimes mystified when people aren't able to foresee how their remarks will appear in print.

I'm sometimes mystified when people aren't able to foresee how their remarks will appear in print.

print, schmint

what about thinking before you speak?

and you're in the running for my understatement of this post award for your characterization of Brown's comments as "...slightly combative.".

I wonder if he isn't referring to things like, say, Wal*Mart and McDonald's.

I was more taken with “the community” and “a part of it.” Who defines the community, and along the lines of Bill Clinton, What “it” is. Because whatever this unspecified criteria are, it’s going to be a fight if you don’t.

Boy, oh boy, there's a lot of paranoia and suspicion out there. There's a neighborhood, a community of interests, a web of interdependencies and a desire that whoever comes in recognize that and be a part of it, as opposed to people pursuing their own perceived self-interest without regard to their impact on their neighbors and their community. I agree that it was not well articulated. But what's so hard about the concept?

I agree that it was not well articulated.

new front-runner!!

Allan, nothing's "difficult" about the concept you so eloquently insert into Brown's mouth. It's just that it's not what he said. What he "articulated" isn't a concept, it's a threat. As for paranoia, it's wherever you find it - usually in those with whom you disagree.

Maybe Brown's in the market for a revisionist flack - you've got a flair for it and my support. :-)

I agree that it was not well articulated

Doh! I thought we couldnt use that word any more!

No cookie for you!

"Whoever moves in, Brown said, should be prepared to work closely with the community..."

As the cool kids say, WTF? Why does a business have to "work with the community"? Is it impossible today for a small business just to be able to set up shop, hire a few locals, and go about their business?

And I agree with rr - it was a threat, pure and simple. Sounded like Jesse Jackson to me.

This isn't surprising, but it also isn't a big deal.

NA people are sometimes high on the small amount of power they have. Those that are can unnecessarily exercise their power to compel the business to make token concessions.

Even though you'd think this would drive away businesses, savvy businesses manage these characters all the time, so it's no big whoop.

As Chris Rock said,
"If Martin Luther King was for non violence, how come everyone gets shot on Martin Luther King Blvd."?

What I wonder is doesn't Adidas have an outlet store also? It seem to make sense to put theirs close to Nike's.

Willy Brown is no more a racist than I am. He heads an organization that serves and is made up of folks from a variety of racial, economic and cultural backgrounds. His support of Amanda Fritz' candidacy for City Commish shows he is not a racial litmus-test kind of guy.

Personally my first guess would be that this quote was taken out of full context. (Note the first sentence is NOT a quote -- your cue smart reader that there was a larger conversation than you are reading on the printed page.)

Who knows, perhaps his combative stance was one you all would actually support, (oh yes, some of you are combative yourself, from time to time -- huh, "in print" even...) if you just knew the back story it's in reference to?

He's a good man, doing a very challenging job. I'm not in any hurry to second-guess him over a silly quote in the Oregonian. I see the work he does. That's the measure I judge by.

This really just shows the slight downside of intensive government involvement.

Every major investor on MLK is required to be a partner with the community. Look at the majority of the tenants in the area being showpiece developments. This level of input on a business would create real worries for me with my passing experiences in Portland.

"Where will the community's input and involvement in my business end???" That's what I would be asking...

Also notice. The inferior storefronts and car-count served properties on Alberta are exploding with none of the supports or community involvement on MLK. Just pointing it out.

A little bird near to the Swoosh told me that lately, Nike and Adidas are constantly involved in some kind of legal squabble about trademark/copyright infringement.

This is from a year ago:

Maybe people in Portland have enough hometown brand-consciousness that the three stripes just couldn't pull in enough cash to justify the venue.

or maybe Adidas is (cue sinister conspiracy music) pulling operations out of the US so they don't have to comply with Sarbanes-Oxley reporting requirements! I'm sure that's it! Alert Ted Koppel!

Er, sorry, don't know what came over me there... please return to your regularly scheduled bojack.


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