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Randy Leonard invites Home Depot to Portland

In a recent blog interview, Randy Leonard describes his trip to a retailer's convention, where he urged "major anchor chains" to move into Portland. It's easy to connect the dots and see why PDC is now negotiating with Home Depot to locate at Burnside and M.L.King Boulevard.
In an interview posted April 5, Jeff Alworth of Oregon Blog (www.webfeet.blogspot.com) asks Randy Leonard how the city can have "anchor companies" who will protect it from economic downturns.

Leonard responds this way:

"Last year, I was asked by the Portland Development Commission and the Portland Business Alliance to go to the International Retailers Convention in Las Vegas. (the largest convention in the world). I sat in a stuffy booth for two days talking with major anchor chains about the "new Portland" way of doing business...i.e., we haven't changed our standards, but we have changed our attitude. As a result of those contacts the PDC and I are currently negotiating with some of those large businesses to locate in Portland."

Does this sound familiar? Recently it came out that PDC was negotiating with Home Depot regarding Depot locating in a new multi-story building at E. Burnside and Martin Luther King Boulevard. Is Home Depot one of the "major anchor chains" that Leonard talked to? Is Leonard part of the PDC negotiations?

This begs the question: Why does the Central Eastside need a "major anchor chain"? Is the C.E.I.D. a mall that needs an "anchor"?

And the next interviews may ask Randy's opponents their position on inviting Home Depot to locate here, to the detriment of the existing locally owned businesses.
Clarification 06.Apr.2004 11:11

Jeff emmasblog@yahoo.com

Just to clarify the point of that question--by "anchor" companies, I meant larger companies who aren't as seriously affected by economic downturns. Intel, for example. Portland has relatively few large companies, which means the base of stable jobs isn't there.

I don't regard a Home Depot outlet as an "anchor" company--it's just another big box with low-paying, non-unionized jobs. Asking Mr. Leonard how he feels on that point is fair game, obviously. But as a long-time labor guy, you might be surprised by his answer (or possibly, I might).

Fast Food Nation 06.Apr.2004 18:06


If Randy (or anyone else, for that matter) IS interested in luring Home Depot to pdx, then clearly our standards have been lowered. It all seems so innocuous: One little starbucks here, one little home depot there...and pretty soon our whole world is paved over in one big, boring, monocultural slab of mini malls and fast food outlets. Anyone who has ever traveled across country knows it's already almost too late. From here to New Jersey it's one Arbees, taco time, home depot, McDonald's and safeway after another after another after another. Both our choices and our character are eroded away under a slime of paper cups, logos, and giant, faceless, monolithic corporations.

If we can stop any of this onslaught, we will be better off. If we can stop New Seasons from strangling the life out of People's, if we can stop Starbucks from swallowing up the Red and Black, if we can stop Home Depot from eating whole blocks of our city, then we will be protected from the corporate Borg for awhile. But if we really want to stop the co-optation of our community and our culture, then we must stop capitalism itself. These chain stores and fast food outlets starve soon enough if we refuse to feed them our money and our labor. We just have to stop.

Anchors or chains 06.Apr.2004 23:43

The Usual Suspect

You're right Jeff. I saw that you were thinking of an economic "anchor". It seems that Randy understood it differently, and it was in that context that I was quoting him, not yourself. I think he was talking about "anchors" as used in the shopping center context, having been at the International Conference of Shopping Centers Convention in Las Vegas. Or maybe he thinks big box retailers would serve as the sort of economic "anchor" you actually meant (provide steady part-time low-wage jobs?).

I'm against it 07.Apr.2004 15:48

Brian Smith

I'm not running against Leonard, but am running against Fish/Adams for Seat #1. I've been really pounding the pavement campaigning and trying to get volunteers to help. I've been doing really well in the candidates forum but it's really hard standing up to the money and staff they have.

I've been involved in social justice/labor/sustainability issues for awhile in Portland. What is really kind of dis-hearting is the lack of support from the progressives in Portland. If you seriously want change then get involved, you can complain on you want but if the same big money candidates get elected do you think they are going to listen to you?

Simple things like:
-getting invited to the WW candidates forum, which only Fish and Adams where invited too. Flood the WW with calls saying you want me in them.
-word of mouth and handing out flyers at shows
-invitations to an groups I can address
-helping me with research
-making posters

Thank you,
Brian Smith

how about some jobs? 12.Apr.2004 12:42


Yes, by all means fight Home Depot in Portland.

Fight Walmart in Oregon City and Hillsboro too.

Why do we need more jobs around here? Its only the state with the highest unemployment.

Good grief.

Added 26.Apr.2004 14:13

Brian Smith

Would also like to point out that Miller Paint, Wick's Hardware, and a few other hardware stores are in that same area. What will happen to those local businesses???