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What New Seasons Hath Wrought: An inner Southeast Portland neighborhood falls prey to corporate development

It is with no great joy that i say "I told you," but... "I told you so."

Here's two places to meet folks who are concerned about these issues:
* Wed., Feb. 18, 6pm -- "No Starbucks in 7 Corners" -- Cascadia Rising! Infoshop (1540 SE Clinton)
* Thurs., Feb. 19, 7pm -- Hosford-Abernathy Neighborhood Assn mtg, featuring a discussion of Starbucks with a Starbucks rep., and more about the new developments at 21st & Clinton -- St. Philip Neri Church
When those of us in SE Portland began organizing -- belatedly -- against the opening of a New Seasons grocery store on SE Division at 20th last Spring, one of our main arguments against the local corporation was that its presence would bring gentrification to the neighborhood. We were scoffed at by folks across the political spectrum here on indymedia, and in personal conversations. Right wingers, of course, just spouted off about the "free market" (neglecting or refusing to notice that there's nothing "free" about a fight between individuals and corporate power), and how we should just shut up already. Some liberals gushed about the allegedly "neighborly" nature of New Seasons (neglecting or refusing to notice the fact that New Seasons' friendly spin was little more than that -- spin) and how it would all be okay. Other liberals said they were looking forward to "more choices" to complement to Wild Oats (née Natures) and the People's Food Co-op (neglecting or refusing to notice that in most corporate vs. co-op battles, the co-op loses) and how there was nothing to worry about. Finally, some radicals pooh-poohed the whole struggle, claiming that SE is already gentrified and that we're bunch of dumb hippies who should fight "real" struggles (neglecting or refusing to notice that the New Seasons vs. People's situation is nothing less than the fight against capitalism writ local, and nothing if not "real"), and how it didn't matter.

No one ever presented a good counter-argument to our warnings of gentrification. We were simply dismissed or told to relax. Now, however, months before New Seasons is scheduled to open, the effects can already be seen.

[RELATED ARTICLES: Community Land Trust Picks up Steam | pdx indymedia launches "No Starbucks in 7 Corners" topic page | Report-back from anti-Starbucks action this lovely morn]

Peter Perrin, who sold the old Red Apple/Wash Board building to New Seasons, took the money and bought the old Ladd's Meat Building (1 block away) for the astounding price of $650,000, and is planning to install a Starbucks in the space (with the help of local developer and Starbucks-siter, Urban Works). A Starbucks would only take up part of the property; Perrin apparently wants to rent the other portion to a "take-out place", which could likely be a Subway, since Urban Works also sites for them.

Perrin is charging $2 per square foot for the space, which is more than twice what people are paying right across the street. This will inevitably inspire other landlords in the vicinity to hike their own rents, which will threaten some of the small local businesses that give the neighborhood its character.

In the Perrin case, the connection between New Seasons and corporate intrusion is direct. Money from a sale was used for a purchase, and the purchase will be leased to a business that will directly gain from the presence of the New Seasons. That is, the location is a good one for Starbucks in large part because of the coming New Seasons.

Around the corner, the circle-jerk of "development" continues, at the intersection of 21st and Clinton. A new, three story residential building is being built on the north side of Clinton, in a 40x100 foot lot. Jammed incongruously into this tiny space and pushed out to the sidewalk, its hulk and massing interrupts the flow of the streetscape. Its architectural style is typically post-modern paperdoll pretense (a bay window attempts to add an "old fashioned" touch to its otherwise flat front) and insults the actually old fashioned buildings nearby. The rents are not expected to be low or middling; rather, they will be the higher rates that New Seasons customers can afford. Oddly, the entirely residential purpose of the building is allowed by its commercial zoning designation at a higher rate than a typical residential zoning designation for the neighborhood would.

Across the street, in a 100x100 foot lot, a developer wants to mimic this little monstrosity with a similar structure, though this one might contain retail on the first level. Plans for this building might entail making it even taller than its neighbor across the street, which will begin to turn the corner into a dark, hemmed-in space lacking in the sunlight it now currently enjoys when it's clear out.

The same developer wants to build in another lot on the same block, this one on the 21st and Taggart corner. That site is currently zoned residential and could legally hold two small single family homes or one duplex. The developer wants it rezoned commercial so he can build -- guess what? -- higher density housing like the stuff on Clinton. (Again, this switch from residential to commercial for the purpose of building more residential! This is the kind of thing that makes zoning so difficult for regular citizens to understand.)

What will the rents be like in these two developments? Will they be low enough for a new local start-up to move in, or for the renters displaced by the moving of a duplex on Division by New Seasons to live? Or so high that only another chain like Starbucks or some expensive NW 23rd style boutique can pay, or the sort of people who spend their money in those places? i, and many others, suspect the latter. And it is clear from watching all this that developers are seeing the New Seasons going in and it's money they're smelling, not organic produce and Frosted Flakes.

Interestingly, many of the folks who saw no problem with "friendliest store in town" New Seasons setting up shop are not happy about the Starbucks or the other developments. Now they're crying foul, but its too late. The slide has begun, faster than most of us feared, and there's no stopping it now. It is the nature of the system to perpetuate itself in this way. The trade-off of neighborhood-sustaining, community building businesses for rent-hiking, corporate developments is the general pattern in the United States right now. i've seen it all over the country, from South Minneapolis to Boston's North End and its inner ring suburbs to San Francisco's Mission and everywhere else. It is heart-breaking to watch, and it makes me pissed as hell.

Mayor Katz pointed out in an email to one local activist who was protesting the Starbucks, that the City can't do anything about a Starbucks because a property owner can do anything they want with their property. That's true, and that's what needs to stop. Peter Perrin does indeed have the right to waltz into my neighborhood, buy and sell a couple properties for some quick money, and in so doing inextricably change the character and liveability of that neighborhood, quite possibly driving out the places i work and hang out. It is that right that we must now attack. It is a very real distinction between a home-owner who wants to build an addition or put an extra bedroom above the garage for grandma or turn their roof into a garden and a business that has the power to raise rents and throw people out of their livelihoods with the choices it makes. Corporate personhood, as enshrined by the Supreme Court, has become a real thing in many peoples' heads, due to decades of corporate propaganda, and many people are now so brainwashed that they actually don't see the distinction between the rights of individual people and the rights of individual corporations anymore.

Will the Starbucks or the high priced development be stopped? Will the Red and Black and Mirador survive gentrification? Will People's Co-op remain viable with New Seasons six blocks away? the answers to these questions are probably, No, No and No. New Seasons will spawn more "development", Starbucks will raise rents, the new folks moving in will shop at the shiny corporate store, not at the comfy co-op, and in a few years, community will have been exchanged for corporatism. A few people will cling on here or there, but with all the old places to shop and hang out gone, and their friends moved away, they will probably choose to move sooner or later. Yet another real place will have been lost to the ravages of capitalism and greed.

Historians will be able to trace the death blows back to New Seasons, which by that time will have been sold to a national corporate chain and won't even be local anymore. (The inside word suggests this possibility strongly, and one source at Wild Oats when it was still Nature's claims that New Seasons president Brian Rohter tried to sell the chain to Natures already, a couple years back.) Hopefully, the people who welcomed it for the "more choices" they were hoping it would bring won't choke on a piece of free range chicken and will live to see the errors of their shallow desires.

This isn't about where you buy your coffee (or whether you drink it) or about who's got the best price on apples. This is about whether or not the few ought to be able to control the many. In this SE Portland neighborhood right now, the few -- led by the inspiration of New Seasons -- are moving in to control the many in a big way. Things will never be the same, and they sure won't be better. Welcome to the "free market", where you're always "free" to get fucked over by the rich. What's "free" about a system where you have to pay to play, and if you don't have the money, then you have no control over your neighborhood or life?

We are living in what is clearly a "teachable moment". The gentrifying effects of New Seasons are hitting this neighborhood very quickly, and their source is quite evident. Now is the time to speak up, and educate people about capitalism and its nature. If enough people got upset, the Starbucks could definitely be stopped, and the developments forced to scale back; people, can after all, do anything if they just set their mind to it. Laws don't matter. Laws can be changed, if enough pressure is put to bear. Whether or not enough people will rise to this occasion is a whole 'nother question, though, and i'm afraid the answer is probably "No". Fear is the order of the day, and that's what keeps us all enslaved. It's easier to ask for bigger cages and longer chains than it is to imagine how to live life unshackled.


bravo! 17.Feb.2004 02:46

Henry George

Thanks for the rousing call-to-arms, Spark! On a related note, we were talking last night at the DivisionVision meeting about the need for community land trusts, to take some land off the market. The trouble with exclusive private land ownership is that land is not like toothbrushes: it doesn't exactly respond to supply-and-demand. There's only so much land in the world, and the last anyone heard God wasn't making any more of it. And the price of real estate, whether residential or commercial, is set by the underlying land prices, not by the cost of bricks and mortar. Thus, the highest bidder can set the price, and exclude others however worthy their ideas may be, who have less money. And the highest bidder is liable to be someone who doesn't even live in the neighborhood and doesn't have to have its best interests at heart.

Of course, those who already have a whole lot of concentrated capital are at a huge advantage in this game compared to the rest of us. They can act very quickly to use their resources to bid up the price of property and buy it before any group of humble citizens could ever try to band together to counter them. This is why I noted that we really need to establish a tax or transaction fee on speculative real estate transactions, such as Peter Perrin's deal making in this case, and apply some of that money towards financing community and public land ownership. Unfortunately, one of the people at the meeting pointed out that monied interests actually lobbied at the state level to pass a law that pre-empts local municipalities from implementing such policies. This once again illustrates the sinister nexus between money and political power.

Stop gentrification? You missed that by nearly 10 years 17.Feb.2004 08:06

Mother

Yes, this fine inner Portland neighborhood is gentrifying. It did not start with New Seasons. It did not start with Natures. It started nearly 10 years ago when a community based house rehabilitation project (whose name escapes me at the moment) aquired many beat up old houses, remodeled them, and sold them cheaply. There was an article about this in Willamette Week many years ago. Their success quickly initiated an escalation of prices on other houses nearby and they were priced out of the market. The price escalation, and closely related gentrification process, has gone on since. Nature's did not cause this, and neither will New Seasons. It was caused by consumer demand of nice old homes in a nice close in neighborhood. In other words the people who live there and want to live there have caused this by their willingness to sell and buy at ever increasing prices. If you want to blame someone, find everyone who sold a house in the neighborhood for market price and blame them.

I think it is grossly unfair, and even hypocritical for us to object to New Seasons. They, and Zupan's, are among the closest things we have to doing grocery business locally. Or do you object to a business being commercially successful? I know about People's. It is a fine store, but it is not going to be the primary grocer for most of us. I am not so sure they would even want to expand to be able to do this if came to that.

original author please explain 17.Feb.2004 09:24

I live here

So explain to me why it is not reasonable to simply boycott both or one of these establishments once they open. Or is that what you are afraid of? If the people in the neighborhood object, then they won't shop there. Did it occur to you that your opinion is not that of the majority of the folks in this neighborhood? Should we not add businesses or housing until every member of the neighborhood agrees? That doesn't sound realistic to me.

This is a city. It's urban, and dense. I don't like starbucks and won't spend $3 bucks for a cup of coffee there, but if the neighborhood doesnt want them don't shop there. It seems pretty simple to me. As for housing, it's supply and demand baby. It's not fucking utopia and right or wrong that's not going to change. This isn't the forest, which truly does need to be preserved.

So, people who support coop will continue to do that, people who support walmart will choose to do that, people who want to shop at N seasons will choose to do that. It seems that you would want to impose your values on the neighborhood whether they are aligned or not. if you're so concerned about housing, buy a fucking house, or ten of them and rent the rooms out for $50 bucks a month, subsidizing your renters, cause that rent doesn't pay the mortgage and taxes combined. Not realistic? Neither are you....Grow up, it's not a perfect world. But you'll get used to that later.

Your passion and idealism are good. That energy would be much more useful directed to issues you actually have the power to change.

property owners can do anything they want? 17.Feb.2004 09:36

mom

I found Vera's email response "to one local activist who was protesting the Starbucks, that the City can't do anything about a Starbucks because a property owner can do anything they want with their property." to be hilarious.
Property owners can do anything they want --- ask some of the churches and social service agencies if that is true. Ask Sunnyside Methodist Church or St. Francis, ask some of the needle exchange programs, ask property owners who allow homeless people to sleep on their premises, etc. etc. You can do what you want as long as it raises property values and goes along with what the powers that be want... otherwise look out they will come up with punitive measures or little known laws to force you into their box.

re: Mother 17.Feb.2004 10:20

local resident

Your point is correct in the sense that gentrification was happening before New Seasons. However, there has also been a solid community effort to create a positive vision for the neighborhood and shape it in a more sustainable manner. Division Vision plans, small local businesses like Peoples, Red and Black, Mirador and so on are part of the effort to direct change in a positive manner.

The arrival of New Seasons marks and initiates a new wave of development that will destroy the character of the neighborhood as it is and seriously undermine the effort by the people who actually live here to shape the future of the neighborhood in a positive direction.

Within a few years, the local businesses I frequent will likely be gone. Peoples will be gone. Red & Black will be gone. These places are more than businesses. They are community resources and centers of positive social involvement. They are life-affirming and enjoyable to be in.

New Seasons and Starbucks will never have that sort of characteristic.

New Seasons is a mercenary company. I most certainly object to them, and to their greedy mindset which does not know about cooperation. Brian Rohter is making enough money. There is absolutely no reason he needs to put in a store that directly competes with Peoples. He is a greedy mercenary with no concerns for the aspirations, hopes and hard work of others. He has money, and he is using it to destroy others dreams and livelihoods.

I dislike New Seasons 17.Feb.2004 10:51

resident

I agree, Brian Rohter is just another capitalist out for his own selfish interests. That is why New Seasons is offensive to me. They put out some image as 'the friendliest store in town' but it is only that - an image.

Actions speak louder than words.

Vera meant 17.Feb.2004 10:51

Bill

the police-owners can do anything they want.

And 'I live here' is a little mendacious to suggest that only neighbours visit Starbucks and the like. The destructive influence of Starbucks is precisely that it does not attract neighbours. It attracts vehicular traffic from neighbourhoods where itself is firmly excluded. Those strangers do here the wanton damage from which they protected themselves by rejecting Starbucks.


Those comments are not the reasons for which I returned.

I wish to reply to 'Mother', because it is neither hypocritical nor unfair to object to New Seasons. Perhaps it is like objecting to the claws instead of to the tiger. I do not have it all sorted out yet.

It is only half a truth, and the least important half, that prices are driven up by regular folks looking for a decent place to live. Prices are driven up by 'developers' speculating ... knowing for sure ... that they can pay a little more for a property and sell for a lot more after sitting on it a while. Prices are driven up by the very existence of banks, interest, inflation. Prices are driven up by zoning regulations, construction standards, artificial legislated pseudo-scarcities.

Portland's famous limits to growth create scarcity. A sneaky kind of scarcity.

It is theoretically possible to move out beyond the regional buffer. And mendacious libertarians will tell you so. However, it is difficult to find a homestead for sale. And acceptable to the bank. If you do, there are no essential services, like jobs, groceries, schools, Vera's smiling face, ...


An electromagnetic frequency is turned into property, real-estate, the same way a machine design, the same way a sequence of words or sounds, the same way a picture, the same way real-estate itself is.

By legislation.

And.

Someone's power to send around thugs with guns, swords, clubs, big rocks.
To reason with those who fail to appreciate the advantages of poverty.

 http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2004/02/280669.shtml

Gentrification Vs. Sprawl 17.Feb.2004 11:06

Graz

I see a conflict of interest in this. In a growing city you have to have more places for people to live. Gentrification is another word for urban renewal. Sprawl is another word for paving over wildlands and farms. The more urban renewal you have, hopefully the less sprawl you will have. So the goal is mixed income. Alot more of those old big houses can be converted to apartments to keep rents lower like in NW 23rd area.
The real enemy is suburban sprawl and Walmarts and shopping supermalls, with rents that only national chains can afford.

Starbucks is a "local" entity 17.Feb.2004 11:10

I live here

I have to disagree that starbucks will attract "out of the neighborhood" traffic. Shit, you can't walk 30 feet in all of portland without being able to buy a cup of coffee. There are starbucks, sometimes more than one, in most every other neighborhood. why would anyone go out of their way to use one on division.

I don't believe it will attract folks from other neighborhoods, cause they can get their coffee closer to home already.

I think that's either a naive argument, or grasping at justifications. And remember, I think Starbucks sucks, but I believe in just not giving them my money.

Who will be able to live here after the corporate surge 17.Feb.2004 11:48

Rebecca

Recently I was looking for an affordable place to live in SE Portland. I wanted to live close-in so I could sell my car and use public transportation and my bike. I wanted to be able to be close enough to the Red & Black and other community resources to join in and help my community.

Trying to find a place to live in the corporate jungle was a negating hostile experince. I had to fill out a several page document with that gathers all sorts of person information on me. I had to pay $40 to 70$ each time I put in an application, I had to have a background check and financial check done om me. I had to have a "perfect" credit history. After going through two high tech mass layoffs I have had some slow bills. With those slow bill payments I was to be assessed an additional $500 to $1000 in move in fees. One place wanted me to have six months of rent in a bank account because I now have to work at a minimum wage job.

Many of the corporate rental agencies do not allow section 8...so don't think there might be subsidized housing in all this mess. HAP (Housing Authority of Portland) is being downsized and they are selling off a lot of thier properties and selling them to corporate interests (who will not be renting them back to low-incomed people).

No one would guarantee that I would get an apartment after I paid the back ground check fee. I felt that the scam was to get people to pay the money and only rent when they have someone perfect. I wondered how many people have paid this fee each day...!?

I wondered how many people are homeless and living in their vehicles in this town? How many are forced to move to the burbs and live in the institutionalized apartment "communities"? How many who would like to give up their polluting autos are now forced to commute every day?

With corporate stores come corporate landlords and housing. Just remember it is all connected.

to I live here 17.Feb.2004 12:01

resident

Even the city acknowledges that the Starbucks is going to bring out of neighborhood business.

There may not be much point in talking to you as you are obviously well brainwashed, but you should at least know that someone out here realizes that you don't have a clue. Just in case you might realize it by the mentioning of it.

re: graz 17.Feb.2004 12:10

local resident

You do not need greedy corporations who do not care a whit about the neighborhood to move in to create new housing.

Gentrification is not another word for urban renewal. They are two distinct things. There is urban renewal going on. People are discussing ways to create new and affordable housing in the neighborhood. The people that live hare are capable of creating something beautiful. However, big money interests and greedy mercenaries are using their power to impose their money making schemes.

These people are not interested in urban renewal, only in making money. They are NOT the same thing.

999 17.Feb.2004 12:15

Mark

"I live here" - I don't mind if some editor hides this however it makes me feel good to say it - You are a stupid fuck. You are really a stupid fuck.

re: I live here 17.Feb.2004 12:19

local resident

"That energy would be much more useful directed to issues you actually have the power to change."

If we cannot stop our own neighborhood from being destroyed, then exactly which pertinent issues do you suggest can be changed?

traffic 17.Feb.2004 12:22

lucky weda

Some people like to walk or drive around -people who have no qualms about supporting Starbukkx. Do you shop only in your neighborhood? Are you confined to one area? No, you are not. Starbucks is a disgusting menace, Portland (every other city as well)is riddled with it. By the way, have you ever read the shit they slap on their cups? It is oh, so thinly veiled. It's almost patronizing.

FOUR
HOURS
SPENT
SHOPPING (LARGE FONT)
REWARDED WITH A WELL DESERVED BREAK
(LOGO HERE)
Interpreted as: good job, consumer, you are rewarded for your hard toil, buy more!

"This is very entertaining. Apparently Starbucks has a rule which forbids picture taking of their employees. Online, people are claiming that they've been "threatened or thrown out of Starbucks coffee shops all over the planet because they took a few snaps". A policy which actually came to light on a blog run by Stanford University law professor Lawrence Lessig."


STARBUCKS SUX.

GO TAKE PICTURES.

LOTS OF THEM.

PISS SOMEONE THE FUCK OFF.

IN FACT, GO WORK AT STARBUKKX AND GET DOWN AND DIRTY.

SABOTAGE.

FORGET THOSE STUPID COFFEE PRTOTECTOR CARDBOARD PIECES OF CRAP.

HOT BEVERAGE? SO WHAT! YOU SHOULD HAVE THOUGHT ABOUT THAT BEFORE YOU DECIDE TO BUY THIS SHIT.

BECOME INCAPAPBLE OF MAKING EXACT CHANGE.

WEAR A SOMBRERO.

re: I live here 17.Feb.2004 12:39

local resident

<<<I live here

So explain to me why it is not reasonable to simply boycott both or one of these establishments once they open. Or is that what you are afraid of? If the people in the neighborhood object, then they won't shop there. Did it occur to you that your opinion is not that of the majority of the folks in this neighborhood? Should we not add businesses or housing until every member of the neighborhood agrees? That doesn't sound realistic to me.>>>

What you do not realize is that the so called 'free market' is not at all a creator of intelligent social order. It forces a movement towards the lowest level of human interaction. It is inherently unsustainable and causes great suffering among the many for the very short term benefit of the few.

<<<This is a city. It's urban, and dense. I don't like starbucks and won't spend $3 bucks for a cup of coffee there, but if the neighborhood doesnt want them don't shop there. It seems pretty simple to me. As for housing, it's supply and demand baby. It's not fucking utopia and right or wrong that's not going to change. This isn't the forest, which truly does need to be preserved.>>>

Supply and demand baby? Damn but are you deluded. Slavery was supply and demand as well. There are higher principles in life than supply and demand. You should look at your blind and zealous support for 'free market' dogma. If people had listened to visionless fools like you, then all throughout herstory, positive changes would not have happened.

<<<So, people who support coop will continue to do that, people who support walmart will choose to do that, people who want to shop at N seasons will choose to do that. It seems that you would want to impose your values on the neighborhood whether they are aligned or not. if you're so concerned about housing, buy a fucking house, or ten of them and rent the rooms out for $50 bucks a month, subsidizing your renters, cause that rent doesn't pay the mortgage and taxes combined. Not realistic? Neither are you....Grow up, it's not a perfect world. But you'll get used to that later.>>>

I want nothing to do with the sort of growing up you are talking about, which is giving in and become a mindless drone for the status quo. Your arrogance, and preaching of programmed dogma is the antithesis of sane sustainable living. You have yet to awaken to the character of real internal growth.

market fundamentalism 17.Feb.2004 13:31

Henry George

Hmm. Did anyone notice how the very first comment succinctly explained how real estate DOES NOT respond to rules of supply-and-demand? Yet somehow, the very next next comment trotted this mantra out, completely oblivious to its own illogic??

It validates for me the point I've heard many times, that no amount of logical argumentation will win people over to a radical, clear-eyed analysis of their world. Only personal experience can do that, ultimately.

Nonetheless, for those who are already inclined to disbelieve what passes for "conventional wisdom," it doesn't hurt to go over the detailed reasoning.

As to boycotts and selective purchasing, we should understand their limitations. They are dependent on people voting with dollars on a daily basis, as opposed to one person-one vote. They are the one tool allowed within the free market to express our opinions, but it is a highly elitist and antidemocratic tool, sort of like voting for the board of directors of a corporation in which only a handful of shareholders control the lion's share of the preferred stock. We should not settle for selective purchasing in the market alone as being an adequate response to all our concerns as citizens about the harmful effects of that market.

We should be clear about the fallacies on which market fundamentalism relies: "Markets are free and noncoercive. You should accept them as is, instead of trying to coerce everyone to think and act the way you do!" But in fact, markets ARE coercive, especially so long as they trade in resources of which the original supply is fixed by geology or the laws of physics. They can also be coercive when they impose costs on others who are outside the market transaction that generated them. These are called "externalities," of which pollution is the classic example.

A vast sea of ink is spilled every day in the effort to convince us all that "the market" is somehow the only natural way of ordering our economic affairs. This is false. "The market" is only the mathematically simplest way of allocating the product of our labor and the resources we depend on. But human beings are capable of coming up with many other ways to go about doing things, and have done so over the course of time.

Markets as we understand them are a comparatively recent phenomenon in human history. There's nothing sacred or "natural" about them. They can and should be regulated and changed when they produce perverse results, or when they trade in "commodities" that are not truly commodities at all, but fixed and limited resources that all of us depend on for our survival, and which a lucky few have been able to seize exclusive control over and extract rents from us in exchange for allowing us access. This is thinly veiled, legalized thuggery, not "economic freedom."

Hope for the future 17.Feb.2004 14:23

jbk

spArk's comments are very sad, but true. One bright note for future struggles - I am currently researching one possible solution to this sort of issue and think it will help empower citizen residents and neighborhood associations to have a stronger voice in the future.

It's legislation on the city level (an ordinance) and is based on legislation that's been on the books in Calistoga CA since 2000 and recently was taken up by the San Francisco board of supervisors. It proposes that any business that triggers the formula-retail business definition (commonly refered to as a chain store) will be required to notify neighbors and neighborhood associations as part of a "conditional use" permit. These stores would need to provide notification to all neighbors before moving into an area (so unlike this current situation we'd know IN ADVANCE as soon as Starbucks wants to move in). If there is any opposition in the neighborhood it then triggers an automatic public hearing and city review process of the permit. This empowers the people who actually live in a neighborhood to have a voice in how it develops. The legislation in San Francisco actually includes a provision for a "local-business only zone" that covers part of a neighborhood - so that's also a posibility for unique neighborhoods here to protect themselves.

In the California legistlation a formula-retail business is defined as an establishment that has four or more outlets and exhibits standardized characteristics such as a trademark, decor, signage, color scheme, uniform or architecture. This type of legislation has been called a success in Calistoga (with support from both citizen groups and small business groups) and would fit in very well with Portland's long tradition of progressive urban planning. If it passes in San Francisco then we have even a better chance of taking it up here in Portland.

Local Resident 17.Feb.2004 14:37

Graz

>>>local resident
You do not need greedy corporations who do not care a whit about the neighborhood to move in to create new housing.
Gentrification is not another word for urban renewal. They are two distinct things. There is urban renewal going on. People are discussing ways to create new and affordable housing in the neighborhood. The people that live hare are capable of creating something beautiful. However, big money interests and greedy mercenaries are using their power to impose their money making schemes.
These people are not interested in urban renewal, only in making money. They are NOT the same thing. <<,

The Pearl District main developer definitely cares about the greater good. He doesnt even own a car. He gets around by a Segway electric scooter. So yes, some developers actually do care. The Pearl Dist has potentially prevented thousands of acres of prime farmland and wilderness forest from being paved for energy hog McMansions, box stores and roads. What was once a shambles of old warehouses is now a European style mix of housing and retail shops. Some is even very affordable for low income.

The Coexistence Option 17.Feb.2004 15:28

BLiJe

As a Multnomah Village denizen, I've noticed that Starbucks in the Village coexists with Village Coffee, so it's not outlandish to hope that Peoples' Co-op can do likewise with New Seasons. Some people don't get that change is the norm and they fight like anything and make cortisol and too much adrenaline and only compromise their immune systems, hurting themselves. Don't go there.

re: graz 17.Feb.2004 16:15

local resident

Just cause there might be some developers who care, does not mean this is happening here (which is what I am talking about)

It leaves a very bad taste in the mouth to be lied to about a Starbucks not going in only to have it go in and leave no time to argue against it.

Local Resident 17.Feb.2004 17:06

Graz

Yeah, Starbucks corporation takes money out of the local economy but many neighborhoods want Starbucks cause its a sign that the neighborhood has finally "arrived" and is now cool and safe enough for other retailers to come to the street which is good. One thing that really sucks is blocks and blocks of ragged or boarded up store fronts. Ironically, the Starbucks might help out the other coffeeshops too in the long run.

Lived in neighborhood 94-2000 17.Feb.2004 17:07

Let it grow

You cannot roll back reality. The neighborhood will wax and wane. Maybe 20-30 years from now it'll have returned to its sort of handsome beat-up self.

One thing I noticed while living there was that for all the cries for social justice, celebrate diversity etc. it was still mostly furry young white people, straight, bi, and gay. And most of the businesses there - retread threads, k&f coffee, other 2nd hand stores, dots, chris' video store, the pricey cool resteraunt next to the movie house (which showed films that only furry white people found compelling),the anitque shop, the co-op...all of it was geared to a monoculture of 20 to 30 something hipsters.


Best local business for my money is the canvas shop. Certainly the least pretentious or shaped to cater to outlander cool.And because it's kinda of careless and unselfconcious it's the most authentic thing around. Except that saloon next to the Clinton Street moviehouse. But, hey-I'm sure most of the folks bought their bags at Buffalo Gap.

explain "geared to a monoculture"? 17.Feb.2004 17:27

Henry George

Why do you say that the co-op is "geared to a monoculture"? I find a diverse group of people there. Sure, they're mostly white, but the neighborhood is mostly white. Portland is mostly white. How will Starbucks promote diversity?

I meet lots of kinds of people in the small, independent businesses in the area: single people, parents with families, older folks. I think many would take offense at your flippant characterization.

Nothing personal Graz, but you're just an idiot 17.Feb.2004 20:30

Sybil

Okay, so how exactly does a Pearl district developer dropping an easy couple thousand on the latest executive toy, so he doesn't have to walk anymore like normal people, prove that he gives a rat's ass about anything?

"The Pearl Dist has potentially prevented thousands of acres of prime farmland and wilderness forest from being paved for energy hog McMansions, box stores and roads. What was once a shambles of old warehouses is now a European style mix of housing and retail shops. Some is even very affordable for low income."

Secondly, are you expecting us to believe that all those frou-frou rich people's galleries would've been built in the boonies if it weren't for this developer? Thus, the wilderness has been saved. I don't think so. The only reason there's some farmland and wild lands left around Portland is because of regulations on urban sprawl boundaries, not because gentrification saved the land. Developers will take any profitable land they can get their hands on without regard to anything but money, unless people in the community fight to stop them. And, by the way, what exactly is your definition of "low income"? A junior executive who makes less than $50,000 a year? How many single working class mothers do you know that live in the Pearl?

"Yeah, Starbucks corporation takes money out of the local economy but many neighborhoods want Starbucks cause its a sign that the neighborhood has finally "arrived" and is now cool and safe enough for other retailers to come to the street which is good."

"Arrived?" "Arrived" at what? A corporately owned generic Mainstreet USA (TM) where local character is priced out and Blockbuster and Pizza Hut feel the neighborhood is "now cool and safe enough" to further suck at the local marrow? Tell me, what neighborhood association are you a part of that's been lobbying for this?

"One thing that really sucks is blocks and blocks of ragged or boarded up store fronts. Ironically, the Starbucks might help out the other coffeeshops too in the long run."

Yes, Division was just a regular closed-up ghost town before Starbucks and New Seasons decided to move in. But, thanks to them, the community has come to life and local coffeeshops are thriving like never before! Dream on, Graz. Thanks for representing your side of the argument for what it is...weak, illogical, and void of common sense.

you suck 17.Feb.2004 21:07

trim away

I hope you get a wal-mart...you trimming assholes!

thanks spark 17.Feb.2004 21:33

david olko

it is the right fight.

Sybil 17.Feb.2004 21:43

Graz

>>>Okay, so how exactly does a Pearl district developer dropping an easy couple thousand on the latest executive toy, so he doesn't have to walk anymore like normal people, prove that he gives a rat's ass about anything?
"The Pearl Dist has potentially prevented thousands of acres of prime farmland and wilderness forest from being paved for energy hog McMansions, box stores and roads. What was once a shambles of old warehouses is now a European style mix of housing and retail shops. Some is even very affordable for low income." <<<<<

Well, I suppose he thinks he might be entitled to SOME sort of transportation if he refuses to buy a car. Most importantly he doesnt NEED a car because he lives in the Pearl District where everything is in walking distance or scooter distance which is the ultimate dream of modern urban planning.

>>>Secondly, are you expecting us to believe that all those frou-frou rich people's galleries would've been built in the boonies if it weren't for this developer? Thus, the wilderness has been saved. I don't think so. The only reason there's some farmland and wild lands left around Portland is because of regulations on urban sprawl boundaries, not because gentrification saved the land. Developers will take any profitable land they can get their hands on without regard to anything but money, unless people in the community fight to stop them. And, by the way, what exactly is your definition of "low income"? A junior executive who makes less than $50,000 a year? How many single working class mothers do you know that live in the Pearl?<<<<

Suppose an empty nester couple sell their suburban home and move into the Pearl. A couple that might have bought a brand new house on a drained pond 30 miles out bought their house instead.
Or a couple that wanted a nice new place way the hell out see the Pearl and decide they like the idea of not having to commute 2 hours every day. Just because we have an Urban Growth Boundary doesnt mean there still isnt pressure to expand it every few years when the developers have paved all the land inside it.

>>>"Yeah, Starbucks corporation takes money out of the local economy but many neighborhoods want Starbucks cause its a sign that the neighborhood has finally "arrived" and is now cool and safe enough for other retailers to come to the street which is good."
"Arrived?" "Arrived" at what? A corporately owned generic Mainstreet USA (TM) where local character is priced out and Blockbuster and Pizza Hut feel the neighborhood is "now cool and safe enough" to further suck at the local marrow? Tell me, what neighborhood association are you a part of that's been lobbying for this?
"One thing that really sucks is blocks and blocks of ragged or boarded up store fronts. Ironically, the Starbucks might help out the other coffeeshops too in the long run."
Yes, Division was just a regular closed-up ghost town before Starbucks and New Seasons decided to move in. But, thanks to them, the community has come to life and local coffeeshops are thriving like never before! Dream on, Graz. Thanks for representing your side of the argument for what it is...weak, illogical, and void of common sense.<<<<

The real threat and enemy is not inner city urban renewal shopping areas like NW 23rd, Hawthorne, NE Broadway etc which all have Starbucks but it is the suburban MallWarts, super malls, and growing number of othe national chain boxstores sucking the money out of the city and threatening to destroy any semblance of Mainstreet USA where walking is still an option. Youre right though. You dont necessarily need national chains to revitalize a street. A good example is NE Alberta. I dont think they have any national chains.
In short, there is a national titan struggle going on between the forces for urban renewal and wilderness-paving sprawl. I will side with urban renewal any way I can.
Needless to say, most developers by far are extremely pro-sprawl.

FWP? 17.Feb.2004 22:53

Huh

What is a "furry white person" ?

responses from the author 17.Feb.2004 23:22

spArk

To "Mother":

Thank you for the additional information. i knew that the gentrification of this neighborhood has been happening for some time, and the details you shared were unknown to me, so it's great to be enlightened. The main thrust of my argument still stands, however: the entry of New Seasons into the neighborhood has quickened an alarmingly rapid new phase of gentrification, and definitely represents a ramping up of the process. The neighborhood residents who pooh-poohed our concerns about gentrification definitely deserve an "i told you so" at this point. But again, thanks for the additional info.

To "Graz":

i appreciate your concerns about sprawl; indeed, i share them passionately. i had originally intended to include some commentary on that topic in my original post, but left it out because it wasn't developed enough in my head. Your comments have spurred that development, and so i'll address it:

Yes, absolutely, in-fill developement is an essential part of any metropolitan area's urban planning process. The empty lots near 7 Corners could certainly be better utilized than they currently are; most are simply standing empty, filled with weeds, and are serving no useful purpose to anyone. Many possibilities exist for these areas: parks (there is very little "official" open space between Division & Powell and 26th and the tracks), community gardens, housing, mixed-use commercial development, etc. i would love to see these possibilities explored through a process that involves neighbors, both residents and business owners. i believe that if a conclave were held where all these folks could attend and put in their two cents, that a variety of creative and vital projects would emerge. Those projects would include businesses, housing, parks/gardens, etc., and people would be empowered and positively changed by being part of such a process. But that's not what's happening. What's happening is that property-owners and developers who do _not_ live in the vicinity are doing whatever they want with them, and that their projects will without a doubt effect everyone who lives and works nearby. This is not fair. i know it's the goddamned law that they can do that, but i don't give a fuck. Since when has "what's legal" been equivalent to "what's best"? Not very often, that's for sure, and i'm sure you'd agree with that, Graz. Your observations about sprawl suggest that you are not so stupid as to make that correlative mistake. What we need to do, then, is aim for the "best" not for the "legal". Laws are not serving us well, when it comes to urban planning. i also do not want to see even one more wetland ploughed under for McMansions, but the situation is not a black/white either Walmart-sprawl or Starbucks-in-7-Corners. i believe you're smart enough to know that.

The long and the short of it is that we are not in control of what happens in our neighborhoods because free-market ideology and property-fetishism have trumped our ability to even have these discussions. The world and its possibilities (and our _real_ choices) are much bigger than the tiny cage created by capitalism, and until we get the guts to break out of that cage, we will be screwed over again and again by the rich fucks who don't give a damn about you or me, and who are just out to make a buck. Their propaganda machine (corporate media, advertising, etc.) is at work 24-7-365 to convince us that (in Margaret Thatcher's words) "There Is No Alternative", but that is a lie. We have every alternative that we are capable of imagining.

The only obstacle to living better lives is the limitations we put on ourselves by allowing ourselves to be brainwashed like that. "Uno otro mundo es posible." It's really true.

Do you want to be part of that process, Graz? Or do you want to stick to your false dichotomy? If you would prefer to stay there, then you will never be part of that Better World that i can tell you want.

Spark 18.Feb.2004 01:06

Graz

I havent seen Division lately but I remember from a few years ago it was pretty derelict looking. I think it would be really great if you could develop it into something unique. But I have been working all night and getting too tired to comment much further. All I know is that any input into revitalizing an inner city area is better than none, including corporate development. Too many areas go neglected for too long ending up in slums with no jobs and more forests cleared for new subdivisions.

Good Example 18.Feb.2004 11:04

abc

is outer NE along Sandy. A rat trap of seedy stores, crap motels, tobacco shops,drugs and criminals on the loose. I'd take a high end store anyday to this shit.

re abc 18.Feb.2004 15:46

migratory Bird

It is obvious that they do not want to develope in that area they want to take over an area that already has flavor and homogenize it- ie destablize the movement.

I am sorry you abhor the poor. It must be difficult for you with the poor increasing in numbers in our country and greater areas given to seed.

Dear Migratory 18.Feb.2004 21:35

abc

who said anything about abhoring the poor? I want to give more to the poorer areas of town than incentive to feed their addictions. They need hope, not despair. Who gets the decent restaurants, clubs, the better schools? Hmm?

Yes, you have insinuated this 19.Feb.2004 01:25

Migratory Bird

Really, you think the shit hole resteraunts downtown, where the rich dine provide good food? I would rather take the Kalga or the Red and Black or the paradox or any variety of poor neighborhood resteraunt eateries out there over the over priced nasty ass shit being glooped up to the waterying mouths of the over privledged. Just becuase we are poor and we need some fucking paint doesn't mean we can't cook, trade, sell, or barter. A lot of these small liqour stores have credit without apr's. A lot of these community stores provide that welfare mother with some food when she can't afford to buy it, "Just pay me back later, honey." Your blase contempt of these places, based on being uncomfortable around them, or of them not providing the perfect gleen for your eyes is rediculous.

How do you think plaid pantry treats the poor mother begging for bread for her children?, but this is what you would prefer, you have said so already. I take that as contempt.

You do not have to say the words for me to understand your intenetions, sir.

You are off base 19.Feb.2004 14:39

abc

Mr or Ms Migratory bird; I think your migration is limited to your neighborhood. You make generalizations that are not true. I know all about liquor store credit and poor store hospitality (which in part is a myth). I've been on the streets and what you are saying is dumbing down the poor. They want what everyone else wants; schools as good as the better neighborhoods, locally run, good quality eateries. 7-11 and Plaid Pantry, tobacco shops and sports bars are not helping the poor one bit, just contributing to their early death. If you want to talk about corporate control, that's what it's about - crappy stores in poor neighborhoods.

abc 20.Feb.2004 03:26

ha ha ha

yes, that starbucks is really going to help the poor neighborhood! and if course it isn't feeding addiction

Migratory Peace :) 20.Feb.2004 07:33

abc

I don't want to continue arguing over this silliness. Yes, Starbucks is not the key to poor people's salvation, but certainly, poor neighborhoods need something better than what they current have.

. 20.Feb.2004 17:15

.

abc

I agree with you there :-)

Peace, sure, but don't insult the poor w/ corprate shit 21.Feb.2004 00:23

Migratory Bird

I understand that you do not want to argue. But ABC you have insinuated a load of class bullshit that is sickening to me. I consider a high end store as you so schmaltz Starbucks to be, the same as a plaid pantry or a 7-11: corporate shit is corporate shit. A lot of the these neighborhoods are littered with independently owned stores which you wish to replace.

Your argument is that Starbucks is going to clean up this area of drugs, crime, maybe get some Pinkerton cops out there, bash some heads, get these people middle class which of course treats their addiction. This illogic is slyly insinuated by what you posted. You have insinuated that drugs have to do with poverty, that crime is a low income thing. I take great insult to this.

Rush Limbaugh and George Bush to start the names rolling under both of these insinuations. ABC get your basic facts straight.

Though you may decide that Starbucks is gonna help your neighborhood we have seen through the tireless documentation and reports that this in fact is highly inaccurate. You are simply gentrifying the area. What you are doing is forcing people to live like rats as real estate sky rockets as poor and people of color are forced farther and farther from the city.

Like coyotes circling outside the city limits, dehydrating, starving and poisoned howling for their ancient places, these are the poor.

Sir, get a clue, I am one of the poor you speak so dispairingly about helping. You belittle me and then ask me to stop arguing your belittlement of me. This is not a rhetorical excersise in politics You can not help me by putting starbucks in. Do not abhor the poor and stop your mass media regurgiation of my class upon indymedia. We build your cities, fill your coffe cups, and sweep your streets while the Rush's get high and the Bush's get clean records of it.

If you really want to help clean the neighborhood up, by a can of paint, and go paint their damn stores for them with their permission.

Plant herbs in the vacant lots, help the elderly carry groceries, etc.
That's all a lot of these places need, a little carpenter work, and a can of paint. They all ready have the love.

Poor credit saved my ass many a time! 21.Feb.2004 00:32

Migratory Bird

Also I have been on the streets as well ABC and I have used poor people's credit at the stores. So don't tell me and others that it is a myth.

I have watched time and time again others recieving what I have had.

Yep, I make it a habit to give out change, take homeless out to eat, etc. This is the way, the true spirit of the poor. My ex boyfriend used to give out money when we homeless. Becuase you share, that is why! I do not romanticize being poor but neither will I allow you to bash the poor as you have sought to do.

I am one of the poor. I always will be. It is my class no matter how much money I have or what I posses I will always be of the lower class. In our society we have made castes and I am of the lower caste. And I demand respect.

truth 28.Sep.2004 00:02

carol

remember the good ole saying THE TRUTH WILL SET YOU FREE

Gentrification in North America began in 1492 08.Oct.2004 21:12

Gentrification in North America began in 1492

Gentrification in North America began in 1492