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Nike reportedly announced Friday that it has abandoned its efforts to reopen its store in Portland, Oregon, which was supposed to be shuttered temporarily due to rampant theft.
Soul District Business Association revealed in a recent news release that Nike has decided not to reopen its flagship Community Factory Store on Northeast Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.
SDBA executive director John Washington called Nike's decision to permanently close the location "a major economic blow."
"This news has landed like a lead balloon in our district," Washington stated. "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. But, like so many of us riding out the fallout of the pandemic and protests, we held out hope that Nike, city officials and community leaders would recalibrate and realign order. But it looks like it's game over."
The store was temporarily closed in February as the company searched for ways to combat the location's ongoing crime problem. Nike had proposed hiring off-duty police officers to arrest shoplifters, but its request was never fulfilled because of the city's officer staffing shortages.
"The safety of our employees and consumers is a responsibility Nike takes very seriously," the company said at the time.
Portland Police told KATU-TV, "There are several large roadblocks that would have to be overcome, including the fact that with the level of staffing we have, we struggle to even fill overtime for regular shifts at the precincts. Reinstituting a program that allows for sworn PPB officers to work overtime at the request of businesses is a huge personnel lift I don't believe we're equipped to accommodate at the moment."
Nike told Fox News Digital that it cares "deeply about Portland's North and Northeast community." The company is considering finding a new location.
"Nike's commitment to supporting and uplifting Portland's North and Northeast community is unwavering. We are reimagining Nike's retail space, permanently closing our current location at 2650 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, and considering future locations as part of this community's long-term revitalization plan," Nike continued.
"True to our roots, we will seek the input of local community organizations and leaders to determine the best new location. As we plan ahead, we are keeping the best interest of our employees at heart, providing them options to continue to be part of the Nike family," the company added.
Democratic Mayor Ted Wheeler said he was "very disappointed" that Nike would not be reopening the location. He noted that his administration had "worked tirelessly and in good faith with Nike for almost a year to offer creative solutions to their safety challenges."
Wheeler reiterated that the Portland Police Bureau could not offer dedicated off-duty officers because of the city's staffing shortage. Portland has struggled with staffing shortages since residents voted in 2020 to defund the police department despite the city's rampant crime.
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Candace Hathaway is a staff writer for Blaze News.