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Wave of Store Closings in Dem-Run Cities Continues as More Businesses Decide It’s Not Worth It

Wave of Store Closings in Dem-Run Cities Continues as More Businesses Decide It’s Not Worth It

“The safety of our employees, members and customers is always our number one priority. In recent years, Portland has been dealing with increased crime in our neighborhood and beyond,” REI wrote in an email to customers.

Legal Insurrection reported last week on how Whole Foods abruptly closed their flagship store in San Francisco “for the time being,” citing concerns over employee safety.

“To ensure the safety of our Team Members, we have made the difficult decision to close the Trinity store for the time being,” the company wrote in a statement on their decision to close the doors to a store that had only been in operation for just over a year.

According to the San Francisco Standard, a City Hall source told them that Whole Foods “cited deteriorating street conditions around drug use and crime near the grocery store as a reason for its closure.”

Unfortunately, San Francisco isn’t the only soft-on-crime city, with areas formerly filled with shops now looking like ghost towns and war zones as a result of drug and crime problems. Portland, Oregon, has been dealing with a steady stream of businesses announcing closings over the same issues, with the most recent one being REI’s Portland location:

The REI store in Portland’s Pearl District will close at the end of February 2024, the company announced on Monday.

In a letter to REI members, the company cited concerns over safety and an increase in crime over the last few years as reasons for the closure.

“The safety of our employees, members and customers is always our number one priority. In recent years, Portland has been dealing with increased crime in our neighborhood and beyond. Last year, REI Portland had its highest number of break-ins and thefts in two decades, despite actions to provide extra security,” REI said in its letter.

Though REI had reportedly tried to work with Portland’s Democratic Mayor Ted Wheeler in recent months to address the problems, along with making significant investments in security improvements and allegedly trying and failing to get their landlord to work with them, their efforts ultimately didn’t succeed:

“The extra security measures required to keep customers and employees safe are not financially sustainable,” [REI spokesperson Megan] Behrbaum said. “We will continue to invest in these areas through the remainder of our lease, but cannot justify continuing this expense through a lease extension beyond early 2024.”

And sadly for Portland residents, that REI store isn’t the only business Portland has lost in recent weeks:

Cracker Barrel, which has over 600 locations nationwide, blamed the COVID-19 pandemic for its decision to close its final eateries in the Portland metro area.

“As a standard course of business, we continually evaluate the performance of our stores, using various criteria to ensure we are meeting the needs of our guests and our business,” the company said in a statement.

“With that, we are saddened that we have been unable to overcome the impact the pandemic had on our business and have made the difficult decision to close the Beaverton, Tualatin, and Bend locations on March 20. The decision to close a store is never one we take lightly, and our focus right now is in assisting our impacted employees during this transition.”


Cracker Barrel’s decision comes shortly after Walmart announced it was closing all of its Portland stores due to financial reasons.

“We have nearly 5,000 stores across the U.S. and unfortunately some do not meet our financial expectations,” Walmart said in its announcement, according to KPTV. “While our underlying business is strong, these specific stores haven’t performed as well as we hoped.”

Cracker Barrel shuttered their Jantzen Beach location in Portland last August due to ongoing security and drug issues. A nearby restaurant also shut its doors at the time, although temporarily, for the same reasons.

Walmart also announced last week that it would be closing four Chicago locations, which they say have not been profitable since their respective openings.

Walmart CEO Doug McMillon told CNBC late last year that “Theft is an issue. It’s higher than what it has historically been” and indicated that what CNBC called “a lax approach from prosecutors” could be a deciding factor in whether to close locations.

Relatedly, Coava Coffee Roasters in Portland closed down their SW Jefferson Street location last Thursday, noting that “team members at this cafe have been on the front line enduring extreme violence and criminal activity on an almost daily basis for the last few years– crime and violence that is only increasing in frequency and severity.” And that wasn’t all they had to say on the subject:

“We have brought all the resources to bear that we have access to: doubling up on shifts, locking one entrance, de-escalation training, hazard pay, and heightened management oversight. This has proven to not be a temporary situation—and it is not a situation we can manage,” Coava Coffee wrote. “Most importantly, it is not a situation where we can thrive. We cannot continue operation here as we cannot ensure the safety of our team and customers. Our neighboring businesses have seen it, too – and we’ve watched them close one by one over the past few years. Sadly, we now join them.”

There are many more similar stories where that came from, but I think the point has been made.

The common denominator in all of these announcements is the fact that they are in Democrat-run cities where soft-on-crime policies and woke prosecutors rule the day, with bail reform laws, repeat offenders, and reduced penalties being the perfect recipe to keep the lawless chaos going. And unfortunately, it’s innocent people who pay the price as a result of voters routinely putting the same kind of so-called “leaders” in office while expecting a different outcome.

— Stacey Matthews has also written under the pseudonym “Sister Toldjah” and can be reached via Twitter. —


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Get woke – Go broke

    paracelsus in reply to Taxpayer. | April 19, 2023 at 2:40 pm

    the Californians started moving in about 20 years ago bringing their politics with them.

      PODKen in reply to paracelsus. | April 19, 2023 at 3:44 pm

      That’s BS.

        The Gentle Grizzly in reply to PODKen. | April 20, 2023 at 2:38 pm

        Yes. It’s BS because they began moving there 50 years ago.

        Judging by the people I met when I resided in Portland, the decline of Oregon was caused far more by yuppies and college educated native Oregonians than by Californians.

    jmccandles in reply to Taxpayer. | April 20, 2023 at 10:53 am

    Communism has a cost, it was easy to vote your way there getting out will be a different story.

E Howard Hunt | April 19, 2023 at 11:19 am

I know a small store owner who operates on Main Street in a very lefty northeast city. The worst human filth menaces every nearby store except his. He is a huge bear of a man whose scowl is even scarier than his physique. Three times he beat up a different lone transgressor (no witnesses) applying maximum hurt with no obvious physical signs of the brutal punishment. Word got out. Nobody ever messes with him now.

Whole Foods closed in Portland. Now, the people there will no longer be able to steal healthy food!

    stevewhitemd in reply to MattMusson. | April 19, 2023 at 2:54 pm

    Precisely the complaint about the closure of the Walmarts in Chicago. People there complained that Walmart was their only source of fresh produce, and that the convenience stores and bodegas in the poor neighborhoods only sell junk food. Well, okay then — what did you do to try and convince your neighbors to stop shoplifting at the Walmarts?

      Ironclaw in reply to stevewhitemd. | April 19, 2023 at 3:26 pm

      The question is, do those people think Walmart or any other store had the responsibility to stay around and lose money so that people could have access to Fresh produce?

        henrybowman in reply to Ironclaw. | April 19, 2023 at 8:58 pm

        I’m just as happy to see hipster outlets flee hipster cities. REI, Starbucks, Whole Foods, Apple Stores, Nike, Balenciaga, Urban Outfitters, Vans, Levis.

        No idea why Cracker Barrel was there in the first place. They made the right decision.

        Peabody in reply to Ironclaw. | April 19, 2023 at 11:38 pm

        If there was as much demand for fresh produce as there is fentanyl there would be a produce stand on every street corner.

The Gentle Grizzly | April 19, 2023 at 11:30 am

<b.lockqupteThough REI had reportedly tried to work with Portland’s Democratic Gov. Ted Wheeler

Ted Wheeler is Mayor.

I’ve been old my entire life that poverty leads to crime. I think we are witnessing that the opposite is actually true. Crime drives wealth away.

“In recent years, Portland has been dealing with increased crime in our neighborhood and beyond,”

“In recent years, Portland has been dealing with the effects of Democrat policies in our neighborhood and beyond,”

[No charge for editing in the truth.]

Police are defanged and defunded. Prosecutors throw softballs because they’re politically and ideologically corrupt. The government actively enables criminal behavior. And the worst of us seize these opportunities to take whatever they want and hurt anyone who stands in their way.

All in all, liberals cannot create a functioning society. They talk about racial justice while harming black communities by refusing to punish criminals. They speak of women’s rights while allowing men to cave their skulls in for literal sport. They are walking talking contradictions to the point that they continue to win elections in the communities they are hell bent on destroying.

It’s too late to worry about Portland, but keep this shit out of your community before it’s too late.

The next shoe to drop is likely gonna be failing commercial real estate loans. The whammy of Covid inspired remote work and high crime has devalued the underlying properties. Many are probably underwater and with less prospective leases to create income plus much higher borrowing costs there are far fewer potential buyers.

OwenKellogg-Engineer | April 19, 2023 at 12:43 pm

Atlas is shrugging off these cities. What’s next?

    Once your major cities are all a wreck, can your whole country be far behind? It may take 50 years, but it will eventually happen under current political leadership. This situation is probably two or three orders of magnitude more dangerous to the future of our country than Climate Change, yet IMO we continue to vote in Third World quality leadership, e.g., Chicago.

      Ironclaw in reply to jb4. | April 19, 2023 at 3:29 pm

      One thing to do. Sockpile ammunition, keep those guns oiled, and stay the hell out of the cities.

JackinSilverSpring | April 19, 2023 at 1:40 pm

Stop blaming the politicians. They’re not at fault here. Put the blame where it belongs: on the voters. It is the voters who gave the politicians the power to effect the policies leading to these dreadful outcomes. Until the voters come to their senses, this will only continue to get worse. As someone pointed out to me, this may be due to the moral rot in American society. Clearly, until all this changes, and it may not, we will continue to decline as a society and nation.

    CommoChief in reply to JackinSilverSpring. | April 19, 2023 at 2:31 pm

    Yep. The onus is completely on the residents of these failing places. They can either give it a determined go to immediately achieve a course correction by their elected leadership or get out of Dodge.

    paracelsus in reply to JackinSilverSpring. | April 19, 2023 at 2:49 pm

    people keep saying “The voters got what they voted for – good and hard.”
    I used to live in Oregon; 90% of the people I know are Conservative and vote that way.
    Yes! we were invaded by Californians (and some Liberals escaping from Seattle), but not enough to matter.
    Consider that Oregon has gone dark Royal blue since mail-in ballots; you don’t even have to live (and many don’t) in the state to vote, but this is happening across the country.
    BTW, they also used to run buses down from Washington into Portland on Election Day.

    stevewhitemd in reply to JackinSilverSpring. | April 19, 2023 at 2:51 pm

    It’s not just a matter of “coming to their senses”. It’s profoundly demoralizing to see that one’s vote doesn’t matter. Look at Chicago — one political party has engaged in chicanery for so long that they own the Mayor’s office, all the city council, and all but one of the county board. That party has progressively (as it were) marched down the road to cheat its way into EVERY office, not just a majority.

    Now I ask: how exactly do you expect “the voters” to fix that? The most recent Chicago mayoral general election had 35% of the voters casting a ballot. Where were the other 65%? Discouraged, demoralized, and marginalized. Okay — you come up with a plan to get them re-engaged.

    You’re assuming they have honest elections. That’s not an assumption I’d be willing to make

    Hard to vote for a good candidate when all the candidates on the ballot are crap.

    inspectorudy in reply to JackinSilverSpring. | April 20, 2023 at 11:47 am

    As Alexis de Tocqueville said, speaking about American democracy in 1850, “Once the voters who take from the government outnumber those who give, America will fail”. We are there in many parts of our country now and elections are not the answer any longer. Look at the recent mayoral election in Chicago, where a radical defund the police man was elected to replace a radical defund the police woman. No large city is ever going to elect a Rudy Giuliani-type mayor again. What then is the answer?

More and more, it is looking like Orwell was wrong only in his choice of year.

Obvious outcome. This is what happens when you don’t enforce the law.

A country can’t be run like a apocalyptic world

BierceAmbrose | April 19, 2023 at 10:05 pm

Parasites detach when the host gets ill enough, even it it’s the parasites causing the illness.

I’m loving that it’s Whole Paycheck and REI — poster children for the self-righteously superior if ever there were. Whole Paycheck selling boutique issue-sauced foods at inflated prices to people headed out to protest an oil tanker in their SUVs, high-tech outdoor clothes, and plastic kayaks all from REI. That literally happened, in Seattle, some years back.

(OK, there wasn’t a requirement that the clothes n etc came from REI. BUT of course some of them did. AND the original REI store was in Seattle. I lived close enough to walk to it, though the folks “gearing up” for their outdoor adventtures appreciating nature all drove. And got help schlepping their gear to their cars.)

It is a serious comment on the status of any society or civilization when crime drives out daily commerce, obviously the result of inadequate law enforcement, and also the “gimme” mentality of our welfare state.
I am not aware that retail closures of this type have ever happened before in the US. Where does this lead, what is the ultimate outcome? Not a pretty picture.

I wonder what legal liability the REI store has put themselves into by (a) claiming the neighborhood is too dangerous for their employees, but then (b) saying they’ll close in February 2024, ten months after the danger declaration.

And BTW, Ted Wheeler is not “Portland’s governor”, he’s the governor of Oregon, a small but important detail.

    ConradCA in reply to Rufus. | April 20, 2023 at 8:09 pm


    He is Portland’s major.

    This is LBJ’s legacy. He disaffected an entire generation with his insanity of the Vietnam war. The people who elected the insane politicians and the insane politicians had their hatred of the US and love of communism formed by the Vietnam war.

It’s “Mayor.” He has served as Portland’s mayor since 2017, and Portland has been a failed city for five years, maybe not a coincidence. It’s just taking a long time dying. Too bad — used to be a fine and pretty city with great beer.