PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Starbucks is closing a store in the Pearl District on Thursday. Employees at the NW 11th and Lovejoy location told KOIN 6 News it’s no longer safe to work there.
The Lovejoy location will be the third location in Portland to close within just a few months due to safety concerns. The baristas there told KOIN6 they will be moved to other Starbucks locations around the city.
An employee who wished to remain anonymous said they’re heartbroken that the store is closing, saying customers are like family and they all made it through the pandemic together.
A nearby business owner is worried about what the closure will mean for his store.
Josef Reiter owns Botanica Floral, which is next door to the Starbucks. Reiter said he is disappointed and concerned about what the Starbucks closure means for his business, but he’s not surprised given what neighbors and other business owners deal with on a daily basis.
“Everyone loves Starbucks. It’s a big draw and I’m a little worried about what’s going to happen business-wise,” he said. “The main issue is the homelessness. They need help. It’s affecting the whole Pearl district and all over the city. We’ve seen drug paraphernalia. I’ve had some guy shooting up right outside here.”
A member of the Pearl District Neighborhood Association told KOIN 6 News that she and the board are working behind the scenes to figure out ways to help businesses.
“It’s drug-induced psychosis that is causing these erratic behaviors by these people,” said Judie Duncan. “It is getting worse in the Pearl. It’s almost like we’re in a worse position than Old Town is right now.”
Duncan also said they want city leaders to consider requiring all tents to get a permit if they want to camp inside city limits.