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Thursday, June 26, 2008

Back and forth on Peterson's

We don't want to make this blog All-Peterson's-All-the-Time, but the e-mail messages on that story keep a-comin' in. Here's an exchange between a neighbor of the soon-to-be-evicted convenience store and the office of Mayor Tom Potter:

Thank you for contacting Mayor Potter about Peterson's Store on SW Morrison. Mayor Potter has asked me to reply on his behalf. This is a bulk response; if you have more detailed questions, please do not hesitate to contact me directly.

In 1999, the City of Portland informed Peterson's that its lease would not be extended past January, 2004 after a history of neighborhood complaints. An early termination of the lease was discussed in 2002, and since 2004 Peterson's has remained at its location on a month-to-month basis. Some retail tenants have refused to renew their leases, specifically citing Peterson's.

Though I have heard that the aggressive persons loitering outside Peterson's are drawn to the MAX stop, they do not board MAX trains and the City does not have similar problems at other MAX stops. We do know, however, that the loiterers are patrons of Mr. Peterson's store. Mr. Peterson has been asked several times to address a number of different problems associated with his store, but issues continue. Therefore, there are no plans to renew Mr. Peterson's lease.

Thank you, again, for emailing.


Jeremy Van Keuren
Public Advocate
Office of Mayor Tom Potter


Respectfully Mr. Van Keuren, I use that Max stop frequently all hours of the day. My business is located on SW Broadway between Washington and Alder. I have problems with nuisance panhandlers and street people in front of my business and all along Broadway and they certainly aren't my customers. It is much worse in front of Peet's Coffee, and a particular rowdy bunch in front of Rite Aid, than by Peterson's. This is a city problem and you are not doing much about it. Don't blame the businesses because you folks can't even keep the demonstrators away from city hall.


The important distinction here is that the City owns the building Peterson's is sited in, and it would not be responsible for the City to be complacent to activity taking place on its property. We have given Mr. Peterson many years to address it. The City does not own those other properties.

Jeremy Van Keuren
Public Advocate
Office of Mayor Tom Potter

Comments (24)

But don't they own/control the sidewalks in front of the other businesses that have problems? It's not like a business can tell people they can't use the sidewalk in front of them can they?

This Jeremy guy kills me!!! OK, so the city says Peterson's does nothing about people in front of the store!! Umm, yes they do...I have seen first hand that the employee's of Peterson's call 911 when issues arise!!! Again, the City is grasping at straws right now!!!

One more thing...I remember when the employee's would call the police or downtown clean and safe and the response was,well,we can't do anything about people just "hangin" out on the street!!! Also, I laugh at this Jeremy dudes comment..."...and the City does not have similar problems at other MAX stops." I don't care who you are that is funny!!! Jeremy, before you start writing or talking you better back your story up!!!!

Get out a pad of paper and draw a line down the middle. Next write down a point by point issue by issue comparison of Peterson's 2008 situation and the recently concluded Schumacher's Fur eviction. Include all the identical issues such as CoP involvement, sidewalk use, property ownership, undesirables in front of the business, security and so forth. It'd be interesting to see how they stack up against each other.

Public Advocate? Sound like he's against the public.

Seems to me that the City has more than a little control over the Pioneer Courthouse square which is right down the street a couple of blocks from Petersons. Some of the worst spots for transients are at the courthouse square, specifically the intersections of Morrison and Yamhill and 6th. I work in this area and walk by both Petersons and the courthouse square area frequently. The transients don't appear to be more of a problem at Petersons than in many other nearby places - and less so than the stretch on 6th between Yamhill and Alder. I would like to know exactly what it is about Petersons that is supposed to attract undesirable types. This doesn't makes sense to me.

Who in the world would rent that place once Peterson's vacates?


"business owners are responsible for what patrons do outside their establishment."

ooh, i'm looking forward to *that* logic being uniformly applied to other establishments.

I'm on Peterson's side. I use that MAX stop all the time and while I don't go into Peterson's very often I am always glad they are there. Whenever I'm there, there are always private security guards visible on that block anyway.

If this is about Brooks Brothers then I am really annoyed. Unlike Brooks Brothers, Peterson's actually provides a useful service to the people of Portland. I've shopped at BB (not this one, but years ago when I lived in NYC) and I have nothing against them, but they came to the nuisance.

Jack, didn't we all read a case in law school about a guy who bought land next to a hog farm or a chinchilla ranch or something and then tried to get it shut down? That's chutzpah.

"...the City does not have similar problems at other MAX stops."


"Who in the world would rent that place once Peterson's vacates?"

What do you want to bet it's another mini-mart?

I look forward to the City of Portland evicting Fred Meyer from its 39th/Hawthorne store, as their recycling center is home to any number of transients. Who can I contact in the mayor's office to make this happen?

I am willing to bet that within two years the whole garage will be declared "blighted" and leveled for another subsidized condominium complex. At that time, Peterson's will be offered its space back @ three times the current rent.

This whole thing smells like another urban renewal scam; or is that the sweet stench of junky urine?

Jeremy's the latest poster-boy for why NOT to locate a business downtown, much less visit there.

Frankly, aside from when I got called in for jury duty a couple of years ago, I can't remember the last time I went into downtown Portland.

Know what? I don't miss it. At all.

Portland, TriMet, and Metro "planned" this atrocity, then CoPo tries to shift the blame to others. Did it ever occur to them to move the light-rail stop away from Peterson's - just to see what happened? Bet yer sweet bippy they didn't.

Nope - that would take intelligence, and they're too busy keepin' Portland weird.

"business owners are responsible for what patrons do outside their establishment."

Riiight....somebody tell Schumacher...

"This is a bulk response"

They must be getting a lot of emails about this particular subject. The city claims it does not have similar problems at other MAX stops. Of course, there is no Brooks Brothers across the street from the Skidmore Fountain stop under the Burnside Bridge, SE 82nd, or NE 122nd and Burnside, N Interstate and Prescott, add your favorite to this list.

City government has no shame.

Who in the world would rent that place once Peterson's vacates?

My bet is that the City will rent the space to the County to run a needle exchange.

Wouldn't that be perfect? Take that, Brooks Brothers.

This whole thing leaves me speechless. Talk about head being buried under the sand! Sadly, this city employee is either brainwashed into his PERS retirement or he actually wakes up at three a.m. thinking "Man, how can I do this job? What a bunch of krap I am spewing."

I hope he wakes up at 3 a.m.

My bet is that the City will rent the space to the County to run a needle exchange.

Bwahahahahaha ! That is the funniest thing I've read all week.

Just imagine what that stop will be like without the convenience store there...I'll certainly be avoiding it like the plague.

Then again, I almost never drive down streets where the MAX runs as it is, such as Interstate or outer east Burnside...I don't like having my passenger windows shattered by bricks chucked by little heavy metal hicks, and I like even less getting hailed by pimps with shark-like, souless eyes. Sometimes the pimps want me to just drive up and down the MAX lines in a loop early in the morning to check on the small-town runaways that they prey on like people really should see with your own eyes just what those stations and train lines are used for at 2:45 AM.

Christ amighty, what is it going to take to fence the train lines in, install proper, fully enclosed stations, and put in turnstiles, the way rail transit is approached in many real cities ?

The entire design philosophy of our MAX system is just so asininely amateurish and naive, top to bottom, left to right.

Downtown is becoming Portland's Green Zone. I hear they have air conditioning in the City Hall building.

Jack, thanks for keeping this topic going. I owned a business on 10th and SW Morrison for over 15 years and also lived near there for the same amount of time.

Peterson's store is being unfairly blamed for social problems that have nothing to do with the convenience store. In actuality, that store is a beacon of safety in the downtown core in that people can go inside there if threatened and know that others will be there to assist.

The reasoning for the eviction is a red herring argument to cover the fact that the business associations covet that location and want to tear down the parking lot and build, yes, you guessed it correctly, ANOTHER condo/office building, retail store to, supposedly, stimulate the downtown economy.

I plan to call the Mayor's office again, plan to submit written and in person testimony, if possible, against this action against Peterson's. Please keep up the pressure on the Mayor's office, readers. This action by the city bureau at the expense of small business and the safety of the public cannot be allowed.

How much of the problem (meaning the problem people) would go away if Peterson's, or Brooks Brothers, or the City installed some loudspeakers and played Bach around the clock?

I think we should turn Peterson's into a day labor center!

Oh wait, it doesn't seem that the first one is working. I still see as many laborers in the morning hanging out in front of Plaid Pantry as there was before the center. you mean sleazy contractors don't want to pay $10 an hour? Duh. If they wanted to pay that much, they wouldn't seek illegal labor in the first place! Ah yes, more Portland backwards thinking.


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