Wheeler denies Nike’s request for off-duty officers as security, proposes neighborhood detail

Published: Mar. 3, 2023 at 6:44 PM PST
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PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) - Mayor Ted Wheeler is asking Nike to reconsider opening its neighborhood community store in Northeast Portland on a limited basis, after they shuttered the doors late last year.

While Nike never cited a specific reason for the closure, in a statement last month, they said their employees and customers deserved a safe and secure workplace.

Across the street, Comfort Auto & Body Repair owner, Daniel Leveque, said the store dealt with a lot of theft.

“There was a lot of interaction with theft. It started to become more of a daily basis and kind of got out of hand,” Leveque said.

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In a letter sent last month, Nike asked the city if they could contract and fully pay for off-duty police officers to act as security to ensure the safety of their employees and customers, saying they needed a solution in place by May 1 this year.

Last week, Wheeler responded in a letter to Nike saying that’s not feasible. He said the bureau is currently understaffed and while they’ve hired new officers, the largest hurdle right now is the backlog of trainees going through the academy.

In the short-term, he said they can likely provide more patrols in the Eliot neighborhood while they work on a long-term solution. Wheeler said he and Police Chief Chuck Lovell are hoping to put together a neighborhood specific detail to deter crime and revitalize the area like they’ve done in Old Town. He said the Community Safety Division is working with community partners to make that happen.

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Leveque said the long-term move could be a win-win for everyone, especially if that means the store will reopen and people will feel safe.

“We all love the Nike factory, we want it to be open, but we want people to feel safe at the same time. I get a lot of business off of that too, customers would drop off their car and go shopping. I think it’s going to be great for the community,” Leveque said.

Nike responded to FOX 12′s request for comment shortly before 7 p.m. They said:

“Nike has deep roots in Portland and the MLK community, and our goal is to partner with the City to ensure a safe and secure workplace for our employees, consumers, and the community in this area. We appreciate the City’s ongoing engagement.”