Liberal City Loses Major Retailer as Company Pulls All Stores from the Area

Walmart is pulling out of Portland, Oregon, as retail crime spikes in the city. The chain’s two stores will close March 24, according to The Oregonian. “There is no single cause for why a store closes – we do a thorough review of how a store performs and weigh many factors before making the difficult decision to close a facility,” Lauren Willis, a Walmart representative, said. Willis said none of Walmart’s other stores in Oregon will be closing. The decision means 580 workers will lose their jobs, according to The Oregonian. Fox Business noted that the closures come after Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said retail theft could play a factor in keeping or closing stores. “Theft is an issue. It’s higher than what it has historically been,” McMillon told CNBC in a December interview, adding that “prices will be higher and/or stores will close” if theft is not curbed. Reuters noted that Walmart closed its technology hub in Portland, making it one of three hubs in the nation being shuttered. The company also closed its technology offices and relocated staff from Austin, Texas, and Carlsbad, California, Reuters reported. Although Walmart did not cite crime, there is no doubt crime is hurting the city’s business environment. In December, Fox News carried a report about the subject, including a Portland clothing store called Rains PDX that left a note on the shop door after it closed. making the reason for its demise clear. “Our city is in peril. Small businesses (and large) cannot sustain doing business, in our city’s current state. We have no protection, or recourse, against the criminal behavior that goes unpunished,” the note said. “Do not be fooled into thinking that insurance companies cover losses. We have sustained 15 break-ins … we have not received any financial reimbursement since the 3rd,” the note said. The store was not alone. Last week, KPTV-TV in Portland reported, Mayor Ted Wheeler turned down a request from Nike to make off-duty Portland police officers available to provide security at a Nike store in northeast Portland that was closed last year. Under the proposal, Nike would have paid the officers — who would have the power to arrest shoplifters — but Wheeler said the department is too understaffed. According to Newsweek, Wheeler’s director of community safety wrote in an email to the city’s economic development director that Portland needs even its off-duty police to be available for the city’s safety. “We already rely heavily on OT [overtime] to reach minimum staffing levels for regular shifts, so there is no way we could provide dedicated officers to any business, regardless of its willingness to pay for the costs,” she wrote. This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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