Thanks for bringing the larger issues of bicycle theft and fencing to light. I agree that bike theft is impossible to stop, and always will be as long as there are cyclists who dependably FORGET to record their serial numbers and who refuse to upgrade from a flimsy cable lock.
I think an equally curious thing in this story is that, by his own admission, the proprietor never had any formal training or work history as a bicycle mechanic before opening The Recyclery. The fact is that, without formal vocational training or an extended period of informal, one-on-one apprenticeship, almost no other legitimate bike shop in town would offer this fellow a job. So he opened his own bike shop.
Fine, but where did the capital come from? Is Mr. Fenstermaker a rich boy in slacker clothes, playing with family money? Or did he come by it some other way? It takes more than a couple of maxed-out credit cards to open a small business, especially one large enough to fill a building the size of a Cessna hangar. Even six years ago, amidst the first telltale signs that the economy was beginning to fold, precious few banks would have approved a Small Business Loan for someone opening a business with NO prior experience in that field.
I suggest that Mr. Fenstermaker's success in the bike industry, however fleeting, has aroused jealousy and ire among folks who got their start in the bicycle field by more legitimate and more widely-accepted means. It would be interesting to get more of Mr. Fenstermaker's backstory in this regard.
Saks has been a non-issue for the majority of Portlanders since it opened. It's hard to be relevant when you sell a plain cotton tee-shirt for EIGHTY dollars.
I would like to forsee a time when all the empty buildings downtown and elsewhere are converted into affordable housing, but that's as much of a pipe-dream as redistribution of resources.
If the Streetcar actually seated more people so that it didn't come off as a plaything for the City to woo tourists with, I'd be more impressed. Let's see more transportation improvements in sectors of the city that are more densely populated by poor and underserved populations, and make those transit amenities run to places where those people can find real jobs; and THEN we can slap ourselves on the back.
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