March 23rd, 2010 | by BETH SLOVIC News | Posted In: CLEAN UP, City Hall

Tracking The Mayor's Attention To Luxury Store's Closure and Officer-Involved Shooting

Dan Saltzman Responds to Officer-Involved Shooting, Willamette Week
As Police Commissioner Dan Saltzman (above) deals with the fallout from the latest officer-involved fatal shooting in Portland, Mayor Sam Adams is bracing Portlanders for the July closure of Saks Fifth Avenue, the downtown luxury retail store.

Adams issued a 600-word press release about Saks' closure at 10:48 am today:
“The property owners, the Portland Development Commission and I made unprecedented outreach efforts to keep Saks in Portland,” said Portland Mayor Sam Adams. “But we could not overcome national trends buffeting higher end and luxury retailers and the fact that Saks' Portland lease was up for renewal. My thoughts are with the affected employees and their families."

“Because we knew losing Saks was a possibility, we used our trips to New York City and Chicago, working with General Growth, to do in-person recruitment with possible replacement retailers,” said Mayor Adams. “We expect to announce within the coming weeks and months new retail offerings at Pioneer Place that we are confident will excite Portlanders.”

Mayor Adams and Portland Development Commission Chair Scott Andrews coordinated Portland's efforts to retain the Portland Saks store with face-to-face meetings with the CEO of General Growth Properties in Chicago on August 10, 2009, owner of Pioneer Place. Mayor Adams and Chair Andrews then traveled to meet with Saks CEO Steve Sadove in New York City on August 27, 2009.

Mayor Adams, Chair Andrews and the Portland Business Alliance have been working closely on ways to increase the level of retail, entertainment and dining offered in downtown Portland.

In December 2009 City Council adopted a new Downtown Retail Strategy, which calls for the designation of Morrison and Yamhill as the signature streets within the downtown retail core, the establishment of a unified marketing strategy for the district, and new financial and tactical tools to implement the strategy. Based on extensive analysis and research on best practices relating to developing a healthy retail core environment in cities, the strategic approach will drive investments and prioritize initiatives for years to come. The action plan builds on recent public/private investments, including:

Public and private investments of over $400 million since 2007, including the opening of the Green Line; Increased marketing of downtown to $950,000 in ongoing resources, including holiday season Pop-Up stores to activate empty store fronts; Increased street cleaning services within the downtown core; Approval of sidewalk management plan approach in response to a court action that ruled Portland's Sit/Lie ordinance unconstitutional.

The strategy was developed and is being jointly implemented by the Portland Development Commission, private business owners, property owners and developers, the Portland Business Alliance (PBA), the Downtown Marketing Initiative, and the consulting firm Leland Consulting.

Saks Fifth Avenue today announced it will close its Portland stores, located in Pioneer Place Mall; the men's store is expected to close on April 25, and the main store is expected to close by July 31, 2010. According to Saks CEO Steve Sadove, “The planned closing of the Portland store is consistent with our strategy of focusing our resources on our most productive stores.”

According to national retail expert David Leland, “Even though America's retail is challenged by the recession, the fundamentals of downtown Portland's retail district remain very strong. With national anchors such as Nordstrom's, Macys, and Brooks Brothers and regionally significant retailers such as Marios, The Mercantile, and Columbia Sportswear to name a few; Portland's retail infrastructure is solid.”

“Retail is real estate's fastest changing sector,” according to Leland. “Therefore, the environment in which that retail is located must be healthy, inviting and attractive. Walkable streets, excellent transit, hotels, nightlife and restaurants, a strong office workforce, and public places such as Pioneer Square, Director Park and the Park Blocks assure a downtown that can accommodate change of retailers without compromising the heart of the city.”

And here's his 126-word statement from 11:51 am on the officer-involved shooting at Hoyt Arboretum yesterday:
“Following up on my meeting yesterday with Police Commissioner Dan Saltzman, I was briefed on the known details regarding the officer-involved shooting at the Hoyt Arboretum bathrooms.

It will take some time for Portland Police detectives to gather the basic facts surrounding this incident.

I understand that Police Commissioner Dan Saltzman again will ask Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Shrunk [sic] to transcribe the Grand Jury review of this matter and ask that those transcripts be released. Since 2005, serving in an elected capacity, I have supported such efforts to maximize police accountability and transparency.

Based on the details and circumstances in my briefing, this event reflects a very sad situation. However, until we have gathered all of the facts, I will reserve judgment.”

Adams has also been tweeting about both incidents:

Sam Adams' Tweets: Saks vs. Police Shooting

Jason Renaud, one of the candidates running against Saltzman in the May 18 election, points out a recent editorial in Street Roots that called on Adams to take control of the Portland Police Bureau. The high-profile police bureau has been the mayor's responsibility historically, but Adams assigned it to Saltzman last year.

"Can you solve this problem? Sure. Become the police commissioner now," the editorial says. "Dan Saltzman's a good man in a bad position. There are a half dozen items in your portfolio he could take on and do well. The buck stops with you. Because of Saltzman, Schrunk and Sizer's mutual inability to act – for whatever reason – all heads are swiveling in your direction. You are the Mayor. Ignore the catcalls. The buck stops with you."

The mayor's office tells WW Adams is not available to talk this afternoon. His public calendar shows he is scheduled to attend a "Morrison Yamhill walk" from 2 to 3:30 pm. At 3:30, he is scheduled to "check in" with the PDC. At 5 pm, his Rose Quarter Stakeholder Advisory Committee meets.

Renaud was willing to talk. "If he's going to wait for the facts, we didn't learn the facts about Chasse for years." Renaud says. "That means he doesn't care. It means he doesn't have an interest at all."

We're not the only "followers" of the mayor's Twitter feed to notice the volume of statements about Saks this morning. OregonCoastGirl wrote this:

Tweet to Adams from OregonCoastGirl

Adams responds to Tweeting disparity
 
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