With city officials, business leaders and inner Northeast Portland residents still absorbing Trader Joe's
abrupt decision Monday to pull out of a proposed new development on Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd., another buyer for the property has stepped forward.
This afternoon, Roy Jay
, executive director of the African American Chamber of Commerce, sent an email proposal to Patrick Quinton
, the executive director of the Portland Development Commission.
The PDC had earlier agree to sell the nearly two-acre property, appraised at $2.9 million, to the would-be developers of the Trader Joe's for $502,000. Jay would like a crack at that price.
"I would like to set up a preliminary meeting to discuss PDC selling the property to the African American Chamber of Commerce at the same price that you offered to Majestic of $500,000," Jay wrote.
"On behalf of African American Chamber of Commerce of Oregon, Roy Jay Enterprises and other business interest, we would like to discuss acquiring the property for future development that will enhance the neighborhood and possible community tensions.
African American Chamber of Commerce is a highly successful and growing business organization that is not exclusive, but inclusive. There is an opportunity for PDC and the City of Portland to make this right for everyone,
Please let me know if you have an interest."
Jay's proposal puts the PDC in an interesting position. Opposition from the Portland African American Leadership Forum, among others,
killed the Trader Joe's deal. PAALF pointed to the impact of gentrification on the surrounding neighborhood and the current lack of economic opportunities for African Americans. Jay is seeking to change that, at least on one piece of property.
Updated at 9:05 am with PDC response: PDC executive director Patrick Quinton responded to Jay's proposal Thursday morning via email:
"Roy - Thanks for reaching out with your offer. I appreciate your interest in promoting development on the site that meets the needs of all interests.
As we have stated publicly, we have no immediate plans for disposing of or developing the site, and prefer to allow time for community conversations about the future of the site and the needs of the neighboring community.
When we are prepared to move forward, we will make sure you have the opportunity to make a proposal for the site.