Currently standing empty (and indeed open to the air) on the property is the old Ladd's Meat building, where controversy under Urban Works' watch has already occured: the gutting of the structure in August was sloppily executed -- as reported here on indymedia -- possibly to the endangerment of local residents. Fiber glass and other detritus blew all over the street, and on-site workers had no protection against the dust and fumes clouding the air during the process.
If the community organizes to oppose this Starbucks, it won't just be the wild-eyed radicals in the neighborhood who will be involved. Many of the surrounding business owners want Seven Corners to be a concentration of small, locally-owned stores, not corporate chains. Some have already cooperated together to improve the area, through the Village Building Convergence's "7 Corners Localization Initiative". This area of Portland has more real community than most neighborhoods in the United States, and if keeping Starbucks out becomes a priority, Starbucks won't be moving in.
"Starbucks is a big foe," said a customer at a cafe in the area. "But Urban Works isn't. This is a winnable battle."
Even if this Starbucks allegation is false, or if the chain makes the wise decision not to move in, the future of this location is still in question. Urban Works is asking for over twice the amount per square foot than is being charged for other properties in the vicinity, which puts the space out of the reach of most non-chain stores. This is a spot to watch over the next few months.
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