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Nike permanently closes factory store in Portland over theft and safety problems

 September 12, 2023

On Friday, Nike revealed its decision to permanently shut down its northeast Portland, Oregon factory store, attributing the decision to persistent "theft and safety issues," as Daily Wire reported.

The closure comes after almost four decades of operation in that part of the city.

"Major Economic Below"

The Soul District Business Association (SBDA), an organization promoting economic development in the region, confirmed the news and labeled it as a "major economic blow," as Oregon Live reported.

John Washington, the SDBA's executive director, said in a news release, "This news has landed like a lead balloon in our district."

Washington added, "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 official expressed that, similar to many who have been navigating the challenges of the pandemic and protests, there was hope that Nike, alongside city officials and community leaders, would adjust and restore order. He concluded by saying, "But it looks like it's game over,"

A Journey Rooted in Civil Rights

The Nike Community Store commenced its operations in 1984, emerging as the fruition of relentless efforts by Portland's civil rights advocates.

They endeavored to introduce Nike's inaugural factory store on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, once known as Union Avenue, which was a historical hub for the city's African American residents.

According to reports, this establishment, launched in a collaboration with civil rights leaders, recognized and embraced Northeast Portland as a desirable business locality.

Ron Herndon, a prominent figure of the Black United Front, highlighted in a 2004 Nike press statement how this store acted as an early champion for business viability in the district.

A Tumultuous Climate

In the wake of the city's controversial decision to cut funding for its police force in 2020, numerous businesses, grappling with increased criminal activities and property damage, have found it challenging to uphold safety standards.

Sources indicate that Nike had temporarily closed this establishment over half a year before finalizing its departure.

Early in the year, Nike sought assistance from the city, asking for off-duty police officers to reinforce security at their northeast Portland outlet.

However, Mayor Ted Wheeler declined this request, alluding to a staffing crunch within the Portland Police Bureau.

In response to the store's closure, Wheeler expressed his profound disappointment. He emphasized that city officials had "worked tirelessly and in good faith with Nike for almost a year to offer creative solutions to their safety challenges."

Looking Ahead

Nike officials informed Fox News Digital of their enduring commitment to Portland's North and Northeast community, highlighting their four-decade presence and impactful contributions through partnerships, volunteerism, and investments.

In a statement, the company said it is reevaluating its retail presence, closing its location on NE Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, and exploring new venues in alignment with community development plans.