Walmart closing ALL Portland stores after historic theft rise
Walmart has said it is permanently closing its last two stores in Portland – months after its CEO warned of a historic rise in thefts.
The sites, located at the Delta Park and Eastport Plaza shopping centers in North and Southeast Portland, will shutter on March 24.
The retail giants said it is closing the stores – which serve as a haven for low-income shoppers across the city – because they were not meeting financial expectations.
That said, the closures serve as the latest instance of businesses relocating or closing shop altogether amid a pronounced rise in crime and homelessness.
The mass exodus has been carried out by owners fed-up with the Portland’s sad state, and officials’ subsequent failure to quell both crises.
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The locations, such as this store in Eastport Plaza shopping center in Southeast Portland, will shutter Friday, March 24, the retail colossus revealed in a statement earlier this week
The maneuver – which brass blamed on financial woes – came months after CEO Doug McMillon warned of a historic rise in theft at the retail giant’s stores
Portland’s business exodus: Top firms flee the ‘crown jewel of the West’
- Daimler Trucks North America
- Bana Republic
- US Postal Service
- Umpqua Bank
- Salt & Straw
Once hailed as the ‘crown jewel of the West’ for its trendy art and food scenes, the city has already seen a Portland Nike store shut down last year due to mass shoplifting, as well as a popular retail store in the city’s downtown that was broken into 15 times over the course of just two months.
Portland’s current predicament has persisted since the pandemic, and will now deprive residents of two of the last remaining convenient and cost-effective outlets at a time of surging food costs and economic uncertainty.
In a statement to local outlet KPTV, brass for the big box store cited such uncertainty for the reasoning behind closing down the two last remaining Portland Walmarts.
‘The decision to close these stores was made after a careful review of their overall performance,’ a rep told the station this week.
‘We consider many factors,’ the spokesperson would then add, pointing to ‘current and projected financial performance, location, population, customer needs, and the proximity of other nearby stores’ when making the ‘difficult’ decision.
Employees will have the option to transfer to locations outside the city, the rep added, though only a handful are within walking distance, with the nearest being three miles away in the suburb of Happy Valley.
Others in satellite cities such as Gresham and Milwaukie are also potentially walkable, located roughly five and six miles away from the closing Portland superstores, respectively.
A second location (seen here) set on the opposite side of the city will also be closing before the month is through, officials said – leaving many shoppers without affordable shopping options
Once hailed as the ‘crown jewel of the West’ for its trendy art and food scenes, the city has has been overrun with hundreds of homeless encampments rife with tents and open drug use
The closure came after a recent ‘careful review’ of both stores’ – set on opposite side of the city – overall performance, reps said
Only a handful other are within ten miles of the city’s city center, which has been overrun with hundreds of homeless encampments rife with tents and open drug use.
The city’s woes have gotten so pronounced that local leaders, after failing to solve the livability issues for the better part of three years, are sharing strategies to appease fed-up businesses and and residents as the unrest threatens to spill over into bordering counties, where public opinion is generally more conservative.
‘After we decide to move forward, our focus is on our associates and their transition, which is the case here,’ the Walmart spokesperson assured KPTV in its statement of the roughly 600 staffers spread between the two stores – as well as its pharmacies – who will need to be displaced.
Residents who relied on the store’s low cost goods to supply their families have already begun protesting the closures, with moms like Amanda Pahl speculating that recent instances of mass theft were behind the decision
In a letter to Mayor Ted Wheeler regarding the Eastport Plaza location, Walmart explained said 379 employees would be impacted, along with another 200 at its sister store
The company added that the stores would close to the public on March 24, staff would be allowed until June 2 to make a decision before being terminated.
‘We expect the employment separations to be permanent,’ Walmart said.
‘We are grateful to the customers who have given us the privilege of serving them at our Hayden Meadows and Eastport Plaza locations,’ the rep added – with residents already protesting the decision.
The next day, footage would surface on social media of thieves raiding the very same Walmart, brazenly walking out a big-screen TV in front of store staffers, before peeling away in a car
In their haste to make an escape, one of the looters leaves behind one of their shoes, after it fell off during the sloppy swipe and grab
They argue the closures are going to have lasting, negative effects on low-income shoppers already forced to navigate across Portland between the two stores, which are set on opposite sides of the city.
‘Safeway is the go-to-store if I have to but that’s three times the price I would spend here,’ Amanda Pahl told KPTV this weekend outside the closing Eastport Plaza location, where a giant ‘store closing’ sign was recently erected.
‘What are we going to do? You got to go further, then you have to spend gas money. Might as well pay for it at Safeway at this point.’
She and others speculated that mass theft was behind Walmart’s decision to close its only two Portland locations, which she says she had relied on to stock her family with groceries and other necessary supplies.
Portland’s continued crime woes have caused public safety officials in different parts of Oregon to decry the city’s state, with crime still up mostly across the board
The next day, footage would surface on social media of thieves raiding the very same Walmart, brazenly walking out a big-screen TV in front of store staffers, before peeling away in a car. In their haste to make an escape, one of the looters leaves behind one of their shoes, after it fell off during the sloppy swipe and grab.
Such instances have become increasingly commonplace not only in Portland Walmarts, but in locations across the country, as criminals continue to grow increasingly bold following several failed efforts to defund police forces and reform bail laws, that have offered little to no deterrent for repeat offenders.
Over the past year, the retail staple closed stores in Arkansas, Florida, Washington, D.C., Wisconsin, New Mexico, and Illinois, spurring CEO Doug McMillon to warn in December that shoppers could see more further closures as retail crimes remain on the rise throughout much of the country.
Appearing on CNBC’s Squawk Box, the exec said that store theft is the highest it’s been in the chain’s 61-year history, despite security measures the store, like so many others in recent years, has implemented to help combat the issue.
The Democrat-run city now has one of the most deserted downtowns in the United States – with the removal of the Walmarts seeing two of last remaining bastions in an outflow of Portland businesses, such as the Downtown branch of Umpqua Bank (pictured), nixed as well
‘We’ve got safety measures, security measures that we’ve put in place by store location. I think local law enforcement being staffed and being a good partner is part of that equation, and that’s normally how we approach it,’ McMillon said during the sitdown.
When asked about if local jurisdictions and their handling of shoplifting cases will impact the closures, McMillon said that cities that sport a lax approach from prosecutors in deterring crime could see store closures down the line.
‘If that’s not corrected over time, prices will be higher, and/or stores will close,’ McMillon said of the progressive policies being implemented by officials across the country, including places like Portland by Multnomah County DA Mike Schmidt.
Local leaders are sharing strategies for solving the crime and livability issues, as they threaten to spill over into bordering counties, where public opinion is generally more conservative
‘It’s really city by city, location by location. It’s store managers working with local law enforcement and we’ve got great relationships there for the most part,’ he added.
Schmidt, an outspoken progressive and critic of the city’s police force, came into office during the height of the riots in the summer of 2020 and promptly enacted a policy decriminalizing most riot-related offenses.
Now, nearly three years later, the city once touted for its coastal valleys and delicate pinot noir grape has become unrecognizable, now overrun by drug addicts and homeless individuals.
The Democrat-run city now has one of the most deserted downtowns in the United States – with the removal of the Walmarts seeing two of last remaining bastions in an outflow of Portland businesses nixed as well.
Privously hailed as the ‘crown jewel of the West’ for its trendy art and food scenes, the city’s Downtown was in markedly better condition just a few years ago
Now, nearly three years later, the city once touted for its coastal valleys and delicate pinot noir grape has become unrecognizable, now overrun by drug addicts and homeless individuals
This past December, a Portland retail store for the popular clothing brand Rains was forced to shut after being broken into 15 times over the course of just two months.
To residents wondering why the Rains store is no more, a searing note on the front door reveals all with ‘unrelenting criminal behavior’ and ‘escalating safety issues for our employees’ to blame.
Nike, whose HQ is in nearby Beaverton, also had to close a long-standing community store for weeks because shoplifting was so out of control, and iconic ice cream shop Salt & Straw last week threatened to move its headquarters out of Oregon.
Hundreds of tent cities have surfaced on the city’s streets, where addicts regularly sit and ‘zombie’ out in full view of families and children passing by
Portland currently has more than 700 homeless encampments across the city within less than 150 square miles, and the ordeal has also led to skyrocketing crime in the area
Amid the pronounced rise in crime and homelessness, business owners are fleeing the city
The store’s owner Marcy Landolfo put up a notice on its window explaining her decision to close.
‘Our city is in peril. Small businesses (and large) cannot sustain doing business in our city’s current state. We have no protection, or recourse, against the criminal behavior that goes unpunished.
‘Do not be fooled into thinking that insurance companies cover losses. We have sustained 15 break-ins … we have not received any financial reimbursement since the 3rd,’ Landolfo wrote.
Portland currently has more than 700 homeless encampments across the city within less than 150 square miles, contributing to skyrocketing crime in the area.
This past December, a Portland retail store for the popular clothing brand Rains was forced to shut after being broken into 15 times over the course of just two months, joining stores like Nike to leave the city
And some of the most charming, trendy and expensive neighborhoods of the Pacific Northwest city are now overrun with tent cities crowding residential sidewalks and littered with trash – and the issue is scaring away both locals and tourists.
Portland City Council rushed to refund the police last November after defunding them by more than $15 million in 2020. Officials voted to add $5.4 million to the force’s budget.
When the police was defunded in 2020, the Portland Police Bureau suffered through a rash of retirements and resignations, with law enforcement further vexed by policies being introduced by Schmidt.
Portland’s woke DA: Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt
Hundreds of police officers have retired or quit Portland’s force over the last two years.
In exit interviews released to local journalists, officers who resigned in Portland often cited Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt as one of the reasons.
Schmidt, an outspoken progressive and police critic, came into office during the height of the riots in the summer of 2020 and promptly enacted a policy decriminalizing most riot-related offenses.
Schmidt ran as a progressive and won 77 percent of the vote just days before George Floyd’s killing in Minneapolis in May 2020.
Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt ran as a progressive and won 77 percent of the vote just days before George Floyd’s killing in Minneapolis in May 2020
Just ten days into his tenure Schmidt announced how his office would decline to prosecute protesters over the majority of misdemeanor charges they were being arrested for, including criminal trespass, disorderly conduct, and interference with a police officer.
At the time, the pandemic coupled with a spike in violent crime had already bogged down court proceedings, and most of those arrested at protests would have to wait months for their hearings – so it was simply easier not to prosecute in the first place.
Instead, Schmidt’s office was to focus on more serious protest-related crimes, including property damage, theft, and the use or threat of force.
Schmidt explained his policy as a desire to ‘focus on the cases that are actually going to have a positive impact on public safety.’
But with the pandemic in the rear view mirror, little appears to have changed.
His successful 2020 campaign was supported by Real Justice, a political action committee co-founded by radical anti-police activist Shaun King.
Over 90 percent of those arrested at the riots in 2020 in Portland for crimes ranging from arson to assault had their cases effectively dropped.
Although the police budget was cut in 2021, it was restored for 2022, but by then the damage had been done with efforts seemingly too little, too late.
In 2021, Portland surpassed its all-time record for murders at 90 homicides with things looking equally as bad for 2022 with 66 murders as of September 15.
For a city of 650,000 residents, Portland had more homicides in 2021 than larger cities on the west coast like San Diego, San Francisco and Seattle.
Compounding the problem is that the number of sworn officers in the Portland Police Bureau is at its lowest since the 1980s despite the city experiencing surging population growth for the last 30 years.
Currently, there are around 800 sworn officers in the city – about 230 down from full staffing.
A lack of policing coupled with leniency when it comes to prosecutions is making Portland attractive for all the wrong reasons.
Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt (here with wife Clare and their son) in photos from his Facebook page
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