Owner of Portland convenience store claims city is pushing busin - KPTV - FOX 12

Owner of Portland convenience store claims city is pushing business out of downtown

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Peterson's on Morrison has called downtown Portland for more than 30 years. Now, the owner says the city is pushing them out. 

“We’re an icon downtown,” said Douglas Peterson. 

Peterson, the owner of Peterson’s on Morrison, said he’s served people in downtown for quite some time. 

“We’ve been here 32 and a half years,” said Peterson. 

He said he specifically serves people who get on and off the MAX every day. 

“It’s our highest volume store,” said Peterson. “I have three other stores downtown, but this is the volume store and we need it.” 

But come January, Peterson said he’s getting the boot so the Portland Bureau of Transportation can renovate the parking garage above them. 

“We received a notice from the city January 15, not only us, but every tenant in the building, they’ve told us everybody has to leave for at least a year,” said Peterson. 

Peterson said he’s all for the $25 million project that will modernize the garage and shopping space, as well as add better lighting and parking. But he said something tells him he won’t get to move back in after the renovations. 

“You can apply, but they’re putting up some significant rules that would restrict to where we would not be able to come back,” said Peterson. 

A letter given to Peterson by the City of Portland’s Office of Management and Finance, briefly describes the type of tenant they’re looking for. 

It said Portland Prosper, an economic and urban development agency for the city, will take charge of tenants after the renovation. It said they will run “a competitive and transparent tenant selection process with goals of providing opportunities to businesses that align with the Downtown Retail Strategy and Prosper Portland’s strategic plan, creating a cohesive tenant mix."

It goes on to say current tenants can re-apply, but it doesn’t say they’re guaranteed a spot back.  

“You know, it’s always hard moving,” said Boys Fort Owner, Richard Rolf. “That to me is always the hardest part.” 

Rolf tells FOX 12 he will move back in. 

“I think the new way the building is going to be, it would just be too bad not to come back,” said Rolf. 

He said he’s excited about the changes and he’s already been talking to Prosper Portland. 

“To have a building that is completely dedicated to Portland shopping, especially since this is block that most tourists inhabit, it’s too good not to,” said Rolf. 

FOX 12 reached out to Prosper Portland. They said they’ve made no decisions yet. But they did say there will be a certain criteria for tenants that hasn’t been completely decided yet, other than having much smaller spaces for the shops. 

For Peterson, he said it seems obvious they don’t want a convenience store. 

“Some people think this is not the right type of business for downtown Portland, but it serves everybody," said Peterson.

Peterson is set to speak to City Council Wednesday. He said besides asking for a guaranteed spot back, he also wants to try and stay there during construction. 

Prosper Portland told Fox 12 there is no way any tenant can stay during the renovation because customers won’t have access to the businesses. They also said businesses have been notified about the renovations for a long time now and they've all been on month to month leases to prepare for it. 

Construction on the garage is set to last from January to November. 

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