Nike Permanently Closes Factory Store in Portland Due to Crime Wave

Nike permanently closed its factory store in northeast Portland. Oregon, due to a massive surge in crime.

The footwear manufacturer cited ongoing “theft and safety issues” on Sept. 8 for the closure of the store, after nearly 40 years in business.

The Soul District Business Association (SBDA), a nonprofit that supports economic and business development in the Portland neighborhood, informed The Oregonian.

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The SBDA said the “community was dealt a major economic blow” after the closure.

Community Icon Closes Due to Crime

The footwear and apparel store had been closed for most of 2023, and it was unclear whether the decision was temporary or permanent.

Nike officials reportedly made the decision to shut the location down over six months ago, before finally deciding plans to close it permanently.

John Washington, the SDBA’s executive director, told The Oregonian that the closure of the Nike outlet was impacting the small businesses in the area, as many were dependent on foot traffic from the store.

“That prompted me to ask Nike what their intentions were,” he said.

Nike told Mr. Washington during a Zoom meeting that the decision was permanent, blaming safety and security issues.

“This news has landed like a lead balloon in our district,” Mr. Washington said in a press release.

“We had all been holding our breath since last November when the store quietly shuttered its doors due to internal and external theft and safety issues.”

“But, like so many of us riding out the fallout of the pandemic and protests, we held out hope that Nike, city officials, and community leaders would recalibrate and realign order. But it looks like it’s game over,” he said.

Portland Officials Fail to Protect Local Businesses

The Nike Community Store reportedly opened in June 1984, after Portland civil rights activists were able to convince the brand to build its first-ever factory store on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, which was once the center of the city’s black population.

In a 2004 Nike press release,  Ron Herndon, who led the Black United Front, called the Nike Store the economic driver for the neighborhood and “one of the first area businesses to stand up and declare Northeast Portland as a viable community to do business in.”

After Portland defunded its police department in 2020, in the wake of the Black Lives Matter riots, local businesses were hit with a wave of crime and property destruction.

Many business owners struggled to maintain safety and security with lack of a police presence.

According to records, the Portland Police Bureau received 276 reports of shoplifting at the Nike store last year alone, Williamette Week reported last October.

In February, Nike requested that that city officials to post off-duty police officers to provide security at the neighborhood store, but Mayor Ted Wheeler refused the request, blaming police staffing shortages, reported The Oregonian.

Mayor Wheeler said in a press statement that he was  “very disappointed” about the closure, claiming that he and city officials “worked tirelessly and in good faith with Nike for almost a year to offer creative solutions to their safety challenges.”

In response to the closure, Mr. Herndon told The Oregonian, “I just believe folks at City Hall don’t have the skill or creativity to address major issues that impact not only the Black community but all of Portland.”

Nike May Open New Store Elsewhere in Town

However, according to The Oregonian, Nike may have plans to open a new store in north or northeast Portland.

Meanwhile, Nike officials told The Epoch Times that it cared “deeply about Portland’s north and northeast community”

“For nearly 40 years, our MLK Community Store in the historical Albina neighborhood has provided the community with access and connection to Nike while serving as a catalyst for change through volunteerism, investments and partnerships with nonprofit organizations that benefit the community.”

Nike said that it recently hosted a few events in the neighborhood and that it would continue to invest there, while working with local community organizations.

The retailer will host its MLK Dream Run on Sept. 17, an annual fundraiser for the Soul District Business Association, and will make a donation to cover race T-shirts in support for the event.

“Nike’s commitment to supporting and uplifting Portland’s north and northeast community is unwavering.”

“We are reimagining Nike’s retail space, permanently closing our current location at 2650 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, and considering future locations as part of this community’s long-term revitalization plan.”

“True to our roots, we will seek the input of local community organizations and leaders to determine the best new location. As we plan ahead, we are keeping the best interest of our employees at heart, providing them options to continue to be part of the Nike family,” the company said.

Original News Source Link – Epoch Times

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