Nike announced the permanent closing of their factory store in northeast Portland, Oregon, on Friday, citing ongoing “theft and safety issues” as the primary reason behind the unavailable solutions. The store had been in business for nearly 40 years in the city’s northeast section.
The Soul District Business Association (SDBA) reported the news, which sent reverberations through their community calling the decision a “major economic blow”. Executive Director of the SDBA, John Washington, expressed his disappointment with the news saying, “This news has landed like a lead balloon in our district. 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.”
The Nike Community Store first opened in June 1984 after Portland civil rights activists worked to bring the shoe brand’s first-ever factory store on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, formerly Union Avenue. The area was once the center of the city’s black population and the store was seen as a positive economic driver for the section of the Pacific Northwest city.
Defunding of the Portland Police Department in 2020 affected business owners fighting to provide safety and security in their establishments. In an effort to help combat these issues, Nike officials requested off-duty police officers for security purposes at their store in northeast Portland. However, Mayor Ted Wheeler declined to provide them citing a staffing shortage from the Portland Police Bureau.
Upon announcing the closure, representatives from Nike released a statement saying, “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.”
According to officials, the old store will remain closed while Nike is “reimagining” its space and considering a possible new location. In addition, Nike discussed providing options to keep employees part of the Nike family in the coming months.
Just like in San Francisco, companies are fleeing high crime areas.