PORTLAND, Ore. (KPTV) – After more than a decade of doing business in the city of Portland, furniture store, Legacy Modern will be shutting its doors at the end of February.
For years, owner Michael Albino has called the Central Eastside home for his business. But with continued cleanliness and public safety issues, he said the foot traffic is still at the lowest point he’s ever seen it.
“I’m just not getting the people,” Albino. “They all don’t want to come and shop. They just don’t want to come.”
In 2023, the City of Portland and the Central Eastside Industrial Council enacted a 90-day reset plan to address the issues of crime, cleanliness, and unsanctioned camping. But months after the 90th day of the rest, Albino said it didn’t create the positive change for him as promised.
“We’ve had a number of incidents like many business owners here, people camping, sleeping,” Albino said. “I have two electric outlets out front that we know people use at night. It means they’re jumping the fence, they’re in private property. We’ve had our gate locks cut. All lightweight stuff but over time it just compounds.”
Albino provided photos to FOX 12 of what he still experiences. He said unsanctioned camping still pops up around his business despite efforts by the city to clear them away.
Ring camera video caught one RV nearby engulfed in flames, creating a dangerous scenario for him and other surrounding properties. Albino said all of this is still driving people away. Due to the lack of business, for the first time in his whole career, he couldn’t pay rent.
“Even when I had to fold up in California, even to the very last minute, I paid all the bills,” Albino said.
Albino said the lingering problems still facing the Central Eastside are still creating a lasting negative image of the neighborhood that is keeping foot traffic away.
“I moved to Portland in December of ‘08, new horizons, and a lot of optimism and this city has provided for me, no doubt,” Albino said. “I’m not saying it’s over but this chapter is done.”
At the same time, FOX 12 was speaking with Albino, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler was holding a press conference about declaring a fentanyl crisis emergency with other local leaders. He addressed the Central Eastside 90-day Reset Plan.
“It was very successful, at the end of the 90 days, the perception some have is that those resources have not been sustained because we’ve had to focus on other hot spots across the city,” Wheeler said.
Carolyne Holcomb, Executive Director of the Central Eastside Industrial Council, sent FOX 12 a statement in response to Legacy Modern’s closure:
“The Central Eastside Industrial Council regrets to hear that Legacy Modern is departing from the District. The Legacy Modern Showroom has significantly contributed to the Central Eastside’s design and home furnishing scene for 14 years, and their decision to leave the District should not be taken lightly. We are grateful they have brought continued safety and accessibility challenges to the forefront. The CEID, in collaboration with Central Eastside Together, actively strives for a safe and clean community, deploying our own cleaning and safety contractors as the City of Portland restores basic services. While these efforts address immediate challenges and cannot act as a stop-gap, we acknowledge the broader systemic issues our District faces. The need is too great, and this departure emphasizes why multi-jurisdictional collaboration is required to enhance community livability.”
Albino said local leaders might present promising numbers of progress in the Central Eastside but at the end of the day, there are still problems impacting his business and others. He said there needs to be more tough love from politicians to fix the multiple crises impacting Portland, Multnomah County, and the state of Oregon.
“We’re just going to have to put our foot down no matter how much it hurts inside and say we can’t have this,” Albino said.
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