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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on March 1, 2012 7:48 AM. The previous post in this blog was OMG! It's actually snowing!. The next post in this blog is Is state paying for Sean Riddell's ethics defense?. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Thursday, March 1, 2012

Apple has its eye on Fifth and Yamhill

We'll never forget the day, around 20 years ago, when we were in the Saks Fifth Avenue store in downtown Portland, trying (unsuccessfully) to buy a reasonably priced necktie. In sashayed then-Mayor Vera Katz in one of her colorful power outfits. The salespeople fell all over her, and she was positively aglow with the fact that it was she, Vera, who had brought Saks to Portland. It was all so very New York -- like buttah, as they used to say on "Cawfee Tawk." She had probably just had lunch with her beloved Homer Williams, and her head was bigger than the ladies' fitting room.

Well, the Saks store didn't last, and now there are other plans for the site, which had been an old farmer's market when we first moved here. (Yes, local! Sustainable! And ironically, impossible nowadays.) Anyway, lo and behold, Apple Computers wants to knock down what used to be Saks and build a big, shiny retail store there. It would be wonderful if it happened, but when the Apples tried to site a store on Northwest Trendy-third several years ago, the Randy Gragg types on the design commission killed it. Let's see if that crowd has taken any smart pills since then.

Fortunately, the construction probably couldn't be finished until after a new mayor and City Council members are seated next year, which means that the ribbon-cutting ceremony wouldn't be nearly as nauseating as it would be today.

Comments (8)

Successful businesses are EVIL, just like cars! And people might actually drive into downtown Puddle Town to go to the Apple store and spend money there. AND the evil cars would have to be parked in garages or heaven forbid on the street.
The city planners will probably make this so difficult that even Apple will give up!
Guess I will just keep going to Washington Square!

Hope it works out. The all-glass design will be interesting, though: the spangers can watch you pay $50 for a phone case and then scowl at you when you won't give them a few coins.

In true Portland spirit, Apple should be fully protested out of town to protest their use of cheap Asian labor while raking up massive profits - even more than big oil - and contributing very little to job growth in America. Apple gladfully rakes in billions while having virtually no corporate charity efforts.

Further, their idea of demolishing a perfectly good building for a post-modern eyesore is not true to Portland values to recycle old buildings and minimize the carbon footprint, of which the demolition and rebuilding of a building will have a massive carbon footprint. And the electrical needs for a computer store will be huge, including specially built A/C systems (you can't exactly go geothermal in downtown Portland).

And Apple very pointedly discriminates against lower classes of citizens, and does not contribute towards eliminating many of our social ills like homelessness or poverty.

I believe that Apple's proposal should be summarily denied, and frankly Apple has no right to have any business here in Portland. I also further demand that the City enact a resolution that the City divest of any business with Apple, including the immediate disposal of any Apple products (computers, iPads, iPods, iPhones), and the School District and PSU shall also immediately follow suit. Apple is a big greedy corporation with little heart, when there are local computer companies - heck, even Microsoft, which has an office here in Portland and is less than 200 miles away - is much more charitable towards helping disadvantages persons take advantage of computer technology and the Internet.

I remembered the marketplace at 2nd & Yamhill but not one at 5th. Found you a nifty little picture:

http://vintageportland.wordpress.com/2010/12/17/5th-yamhill-food-market-1975/

Erik H, sarcasm does not always telegraph well. Please tell me you're joking.

5th and Yamhill, "a sad little corner"...and so it is again...still

Yeah, we sure don't want the most successful retail space in North America (per square foot) expanding. I hear that local government in Portland and Salem absolutely hate corporate success of any kind.

Apple should just take over Pioneer Place. For whatever reason, they pack the place better than any store in there.

The ever increasing hype on Apple finally prompted me to speak about my own personal experience. Apple and I had a fifteen years love hate relationship that started in 1984. I don't usually accuse anyone of discrimination and I have never publicly shared my thoughts before. But Apple as a company was totally discriminatory back then. I was actually told that the only reason I was accepted as the first and only non-white owned Apple dealership in the Northwest was a favor to a preferred owner who was losing his shirt.

By 1992, even after I grew my company into the highest volume Apple dealer in the N.W. five states (also Inc. 500 Companies twice among many awards) as per Apple's statistics, Apple continued to refuse to give me price parity with the other Apple dealers. My product costs from Apple were always three to five percentage points higher than everyone I competed with. Additionally, I was always told to stay out of the big lucrative markets such as Seattle or large customers such as Portland Public Schools. My orders were always subject to allocation and I could never get my orders filled timely.

Whenever I requested parity treatment, the response was "just be happy that we allowed you to be an apple dealer." Finally, in one of the executive sessions with Apple's upper executives (John Sculley was president and Bill Campbell was Exe. VP of Sales then) in Cupertino, which was supposed to be one of those nothing leaves this room session, I asked what did my company had to do to achieve parity treatment. I was given some lip service with the usual we will look into it stuff. Before I even got home from Cupertino, my company was placed on credit hold and received a formal letter from Apple's internal auditors that my company must pass a complete compliance audit before the credit hold would be lifted! The then head of Apple's IA led a whole team of people up and audited all my locations. After he found that we passed without problem, he told me he didn't know why he was sent, and that Apple had never audited any dealer the way I was audited. Soon after, word was passed down that it was because I was not a "good boy" in the meeting.

My pricing and supply problems with Apple started escalating. Among other tactics, Apple brought in extra dealership locations and coordinated with them to compete with me. Their excuse were they decided it was not healthy to have one dealership monopolizing anyone geographical area. One after another, my dealership agreements were not renewed.

There were so many overt and covert sign of discriminatory practices that it will take up pages to recount them. To this date, I still do not feel comfortable buying any Apple product and have not bought any. But I still have a fully functional Lisa and many of the original product launch framed posters!

One day, when the subject is appropriate, I may recount why I got late night death threats and cut off from the multi-million dollar annual IBM contract by the State of Oregon because of a $100 donation I made to the softball/soccer coach of my kids...


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