Jake Thomas over at the Portland Observer has some words of wisdom for Portland via a minority business group in Kansas City.
When asked to comment on his group's experience working with Cordish, the development company the Trail Blazers are partnering with to turn the Rose Quarter into Jumptown, Mid-America Minority Business Development Council President Lonnie Scott told the Observer, “Cordish has done nothing for minorities."
According to Scott, rents are so high in Cordish's downtown Kansas City redevelopment project (known as the Power and Light District), minority businesses can't get a foot in the door. Scott also said that Cordish promised to work with minority businesses during Power and Light construction, but "failed to deliver." His warning for Portland minority development groups: “Get it in writing.”
That squares up with what a Lousiville city official and Kansas City business owner told the Mercury last year—that Cordish representatives promised to include local businesses, but instead worked to undermine local businesses, strong-arming officials for special permits. In Kansas City, Cordish got into hot racial water over an alleged racist dress code and shut-down of a rap concert. So, Portland, if we're going to make sure the redeveloped Rose Quarter helps local businesses and minorities, we'd better get it in writing.