In Portland's world of boutique and neighborhood-oriented retail, a dollar store is an easy target. With its bright green sign, an inventory comprised of budget merchandise, and its somewhat shrill florescent lighting, the new Dollar Tree has irked a few condo dwellers at its next door neighbor Civic Condominiums, the 16-story tower rises above the rest of West Burnside and PGE Park. They shouldn't worry.
Although Urban Works Real Estate handles all the commercial leasing at The Civic, the Dollar Tree deal was not negotiated by Urban Works. It was handled by the previous broker. That said, many in the neighborhood (including me, a fellow Civic resident) believe the Dollar Tree will be good for the neighborhood. Here are a few reasons why.
Convenience:While we all appreciate our independent coffee houses (one of the best in Portland is right across the street), our chef-owned restaurants, and our organic food markets, there is a lack of places in the urban core to purchase staples: cheap flip-flops, sunglasses, house plants, Tupperware, dish towels and other items that stores like Dollar Tree carry.
Value: Retailers like Dollar Tree are not typically found in Portland's urban core, but are found in the urban neighborhoods of other large cities. They tend to serve economically diverse neighborhoods with high-population densities. In the next decade, many developers expect more retailers like Dollar Tree and Target to relocate to Portland's core. Not everything in the urban core needs to be expensive.
Dynamic Cities: Retail reflects change. NW Portland is home to all sorts of people with all sorts of incomes. I knew this when I purchased my condo. This neighborhood, like Capitol Hill in Seattle, SOMA in San Francisco, and Silver Lake in LA, has a gritty urban character that's not often found in Portland. At the same time, it also houses some of Portland's most popular independent business. Just blocks from Dollar Tree is Ken's Artisan Bakery, Tanuki, Bar Mingo, and Coffeehouse NW. In cities, there is truly room for everyone.
For we downtown residents, everyday items are often in short supply. Just finding a place to buy batteries or pencils can be difficult. Now there will be such a place. And best of all, nothing will cost more than a buck. Now if only someone would open a breakfast cafe...