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Saturday, August 9, 2008

Peterson's saved

It appears that the City of Portland is backing off evicting Peterson's convenience store in the SmartPark garage across from the Galleria. Commissioners Saltzman, Fish, and Adams are reportedly ready to allow the store to continue to operate, provided that it agrees to several conditions, including not selling malt liquor or cigarettes.

The new restrictions seem kind of foolish -- the store already refrains from selling 40-ounce malt liquor, and fortified wine. But the loud voice of the public, which overwhelmingly opposes forcing the store out, has apparently won out over the shrill voices of Brooks Brothers and the other downtown businesses (including the Oregonian, which continues its biased coverage of the case today) looking for a scapegoat for the takeover of the city's core by homeless, mentally ill, and thugs:

A Brooks Brothers assistant manager put it even more directly in her own recent e-mail to Potter: "I fail to see why a disgusting store such as Peterson's is allowed to stay open.... They cater to the dregs of the streets of our city."
I've never been tempted to shop at Brooks Brothers, but they can be sure I never will after this. Meanwhile, good for Peterson's, and for the public.

Comments (21)

When I worked at a store in downtown Portland I used to go into Peterson's a buy the New York Times every day as did many of those I worked with. It's great to know that the business will remain open.


Just a matter of time and being a Dreg will be a capitol offense crime in the the city of Brooks Brother Suits.
Maybe Peterson's could be a make-over prison for the down-and-outers.

Brooks Brothers shoudl vist public housing downtown or Outside In for comparison purposes.

Maybe that assistant manager should have done a survey of her employees' shopping habits before making his/her pronouncement.

Either that, or BB may want to consider making an edict forcing staff to buy their soda & bottled water elsewhere.

Maybe a "disgusting store" like Brooks Brothers should move to the Pearl where it will be appreciated.

I think we should start a petition to close Brooks Brothers. Maybe they sell fur, we could let the "indymedia" types know and they could protest them out of business too.

Peterson's is costing taxpayers money.

Oh, THATS rich! NOW Potter is worried about taxpayer money? What a toad..

As a downtown business owner, I am happy to see the city allow Petersons to remain. Their reprieve still smacks of blaming him instead of the cities policies. Portland has been totally negligent dealing with the homeless, mentally ill and street punks for the last twenty years. Portland has a policy of allocating scarce resources by funding agencies whose interests lie with maintaining these populations as opposed to solving the problems. This funding has resulted with increased employment opportunities within these non profit organizations while realizing no positive results. The city has consistently developed policies of tolerance toward illegal behavior and capitulation with allowance of this behavior in the guise of constitutional protections.

There are several stores that weren't allowed to sell malt liquor/fortified wines - but what's up with the no cigarettes rule? Do cigarettes cause violence now?

Maybe the Brooks Brothers ASSistant manager should move back to New York. I liked Portland a whole lot better when it was "our" city instead of "their" city. I bet that person has lived here for all of three years.

I wish we could treat people with a little more humanity than the Brooks Brothers approach. We have gotten into a mutually beneficial relationship with a couple of street folks. One fellow used to sleep on the porch of our office, and hung out at the bar in the strip development. We had a bench for him so when he couldn't make it to the shelter or half way house he was living in he crashed there, collected our cans for beer money, and unlike all the rest of the offices in the strip development ours was never broken into. I always felt safe there late at night as this guy was always around saying Hi as we left and came. He never begged money, only asked to take our pop cans. Now I have another gentleman who comes to the house once a week and collects our deposit cans. He is also very polite, rang the bell and asked if he could have our cans the first few times, and I told him sure, and have taken to setting them out for him and collecting them from my kids and other places and leaving them for him. Again, we have never had any problem with theft or any damage except from raccoons.

These folks are human beings, and for the most part not aggressive, just trying to survive with the burdens they carry. I wish our society would figure out how to be more humane with them.

In defense of the downtown stores, no all of them are vicious. I was in a downtown association meeting several years ago and the Nordstrom's manager at the time talked about the door stop transient they had similar to mine at the strip mall, and she had the live and let live attitude.

I'm just guessing that Brooks Brothers pays more rent than Peterson, and for the moment is keeping the Galleria alive. I wouldn't give much for their long-term chances, but I do think they have a point about Peterson's clientele.

Good on you, Jack, for dogging this story. Why do you think the Oregonian's coverage has been so biased?

Regarding the "no selling of ... cigarettes", it states in the agreement:

2) No sales of individually packaged malt alcohol beverages or single cigarettes,

So they'll still be able to sell full packs.

Which is moot, since Peterson's already doesn't sell either malt liquor or single cigarettes.

If it's just single cigs that they're agreeing not to sell, this passage from the Portland Business Journal story was pretty incompetent:

Peterson must agree to cooperate on all crimes committed at his three downtown stores, not sell individual malt alcohol beverages or cigarettes and report whether anyone in front of his stores is participating in illegal activity.

"I do think they have a point about Peterson's clientele."

Puh-leeze - MAX or the rest of downtown have absolutely nothing at all to do with these people being there? Why aren't they at the other Peterson's? Why can't we just get a good police presence downtown?

When is it the job of businesses to report "illegal activity"? If I reported every incident that I think is illegal then I couldn't even find a few minutes to work. It's another catch twenty two from city hall.

Peterson's has suffered enough. I remember them moving in to their storefront right before MAX was being built. I was so proud of "Mr. Peterson" for sticking out the construction, and for expanding downtown. They're a responsible business serving a need.

My bet is they outlast Brooks Brothers - especially after your wonderful exposure of their extreme bias. Thanks for keeping Portland honest, Jack. Hope you're well.

The language of what Jason McArthur posted and what is found in the Daily Business Journal is only an Oxford comma apart.

It's a typo, not incompetence.

But it is OK to sell a 6-pack of malt beverage, or a pack of cigarettes? I guess that just means they have to pan handle for longer before they can get their fix. ;)

And why bother putting that in the agreement, if they already didn't sell those items individually, or at all?

Would the world come to an end if someone bought a single cigarette?

So schools receiving federal funding have to allow military recruiters, and renters of city property have to report to the police without compensation?

In hindsight, Peterson's should have rented private property like Brooks Brothers did to avoid being drafted as their block watch captain.


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