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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on October 20, 2011 9:30 AM. The previous post in this blog was How bad are prospects for solar manufacturing in Oregon?. The next post in this blog is Republican platform: Tax businesses that are losing money. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Portland City Hall's next triumph: the grocery business

Portland is borrowing money to cut the grass in the parks, but we have plenty of change lying around to have the bureaucrats start meddling in an industry that they know nothing about. The end result will surely be to put the public at risk while favored businesses rake in all the upside.

Apparently the fix is in for a New Seasons or Market of Choice grocery store on SW Fourth Avenue near the real estate development company known as Portland State University. It will be right on the streetcar line. The city subsidies will no doubt run into eight figures. Then Charlie Hales from Camas will tell you that the streetcar made it happen. It's the linchpin, don'tcha know.

Comments (20)

Is this another example of greed or should we call it the arrogance and conceit of public officials?

Streetcar/4th and Harrison may be wrong.

I was told they are considering the old red lion parcel on Lincoln Steet where Milwaukie Light Rail will run.

That tax paying business was shut down
when PSU bought it for a mystery use but likely student housing.

So now we know it will be mixed use, heavily subsidized and little tax revenue.

Maybe it's time for Safeway - that already has a newer downtown location right by the street car tracks - to SUE these b*stards at City Hall and the PDC for even thinking about doing anything like setting up a competing business with tax dollars..

Good grief - all that analysis for a grocery store in downtown? It's funny (sad?) that in the "City That Works" the City government has to figure out how to get a grocery store downtown. Doesn't sound like it's working to me.

I guess Walmart's odds are slim to none.

Hope they didn't pay too much for that report - They totally forgot there is an almost new Safeway in Museum Place about 4 blocks away from PSU. Heck, you could walk, ride your bike or take the streetcar for those 4 blocks!

You know they want to give away money to another store down there. It'll happen.

I brought home a receipt from New Seasons the other night and decided to start shopping at Fred's, if I can convince the NoPo branch to carry GCB bread.

box of fig newmans-4.50
box of kashi's crackers-4.50
cashews-10 dollars a pound
activated yeast packets-ungodly
eggs (certified humane, whatever this means)- 5.00
1/2 gallon milk-5.00
loaf of bread- 4.00

Nice store, New Seasons. They have their clientele because it fells good in there, something about the lighting and the friendly personnel. At this point, however, I have decided to spend my money more wisely...

I find it interesting that our government wants to push a grocery store that just happens to be affiliated with a mayoral candidate.

Sooooooo- we build you a new grocery store- then you do what we want once you become mayor?

Iconic! Linch pin! Livability! Green! Sustainable!
Yuck!

I find it ridiculous that the $20+ thousand dollar market study would conclude that the RiverPlace site is impractical- "skeptical that the site would draw from across Naito Parkway". On the same page of the study regarding the 4th & Harrison site they state,"Grocers... [would be] able to readily pull from ...South Waterfront...".

Does that mean people can only go west in Portland but can't go east the same distance? Why can't a PSU student ride the trolley or walk to RiverPlace?

Is the fix in for the property owners at 4th & Harrison? Or the 4th & Lincoln PSU (formerly the Red Lion property), whereby PSU will be totally subsidized to put student housing over the grocery store?

And don't forget that PDC has executed three Request For Proposals for PDC owned Blocks 8 and 3 on the south side of RiverPlace in the past 6 years that the proformas required grocery stores with all kinds of other mixed uses above. This is another example where CoP/PDC is trying to control market forces.

Let's not pick winners and losers. Let the market determine when, how to serve the needs of the area, especially without the many taxpayer subsidies involved.

Re: "I find it interesting that our government wants to push a grocery store that just happens to be affiliated with a mayoral candidate."

Mr Grumpy,

"Interesting" is such an uninteresting description.

Start here:

"Brady’s biggest donations have come in at $10,000: from New Seasons co-founder Stan Amy; and PM Financial Services, a mortgage company owned by Darla and Kali Placencia in the Chicago area, where Brady grew up."
http://wweek.com/portland/article-17968-the_campaign_cash_tr.html

Then go here:

"Our weekend speculation about what's going to happen to the Wild Oats store on NE Fremont, now that Whole Foods is buying out Wild Oats, was fun. But it gets a whole lot more interesting when you consider who owns that building. I'll give you a hint: It's not Wild Oats.

At least on the tax records, it's listed as something called ADG Properties, LLC, which I do believe is owned, at least in part, by Stan Amy, a founder of, and still affiliated with, New Seasons markets!"
http://bojack.org/2007/02/wild_oats_whole_foods_and_gues.html

For extra credit, research Mr Amy's position on the Planning Commission over a decade ago. And that of his partner in ADG Properties, Sarah ffitch, on the same Commission.

Since I work near the PSU campus, I am in the midst of presumed students anytime I'm outside. I often see them with Safeway grocery bags (the plastice ones, before they were banned), so clearly they're walking or taking a bus or the streetcar there, and doing their shopping. I have to doubt the area could support another full-service grocery store. Besides, it probably makes sense, if looking to stock up on items, to drive to Fred Meyer or Winco for the price savings.

The city certainly has no business promoting New Seasons or any other privatly owned business. Let them pay their own way. Their prices are absurd. Their profits should be significant. This is not like recruiting a major manufacturer who will bring jobs to Portland. Make the bad man go away!

gaye harris:eggs (certified humane, whatever this means)- 5.00

Humane certified means standards including nutritious diet without antibiotics, or hormones, raised with shelter, free range, etc. If possible, I prefer to stay away from antibiotics if not needed. I checked the flyer this week, New Seasons has organic AA large brown eggs for $3.50 There are eggs for less that are humane certified. Have noted that Fred Meyers has good buys, cereals when on sale in the health section are less than those in the regular area.

Sounds like the city wants to use our tax dollars to blatantly create a market advantage for a politically favored business in order to discriminate against a politically unfavored one.

Watch the building site get zoned a 1 building sized URA, one of the "micro" ones Sam was talking about.

Amazing, and the state AG is suddenly taken I'll.
Amazing.

Funny how between the KKK once controlling Portland and the state's former constitutional ban on non-whites, minorities were virtually non-existent in Portland and Oregon as a whole.

Then came WW2 and the shipyards, the 60's and civil rights, and later multiculturalism, diversity, etc, and the discrimation of the past became so very un-PC, rarely talked about, and just plain illegal.

Looks like they've found another way to accomplish the same thing, but this time it's so very PC! Green is new color of discrimination.

Another 'Amazing' is that PDC didn't even get permission or notify the SoWhat Urban Renewal Advisory Committee about the $20K Grocery Study.

And still 'Amazing' is that when the Study was presented the committee essentially just said "oh, thanks, that's interesting".

When the committee is mostly Stakeholders all benefiting in some way from the taxpayer dollars, why ask pertinent questions, or even ask if we citizens should even pay for such a study. Transparency? Citizen Representation?

When are our 585 Citizen Committees going to have true citizen representation?

Given the fact 24% of Portland's revenue goes for debt, this is *utterly* insane.

I have no problem with Fred Meyer building a store at the Main Post Office site.

It'd provide hundreds of private-sector jobs; return a tax-exempt property to tax-paying status, and be a great use for the large parcel. It's also be much more "vibrant" than a baseball field that would sit empty and dormant 90% of the time, while Freddy's can pretty well be busy from 7:00 AM until 11:00 PM.

And there's a few blocks between S.W. 4th and 5th, from Montgomery south to Lincoln, that are occupied by banks, a gas station and a parking lot...that a Freddy's could take over. The two banks could fit inside the Freddy's (since every Fred Meyer store has a bank inside), and best of all I'd rather have a Freddy's than a Sustainability Center.

And even better - the City of Portland doesn't need to bribe Freddy's to build a store.


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