The Half-Billion Dollar Swoosh

nike1Every city seems to have its Martin Luther King Jr Avenue, or Boulevard. It typically is in the most dilapidated part of town. You can draw your own conclusion from that. When Portland renamed Union Avenue to Martin Luther King Jr Boulevard, there was an outcry, claiming that “Union” was part of the city’s heritage, even though no one was able to come up with what the significance of the name was. About the same time as the name change, the city decided to upgrade the desolate avenue, lined with empty stores and decaying buildings. They improved the street, building a shrubbery-lined median along its length. The crown jewel was a brand new, block-long retail strip. It housed several retail businesses, including a café and a Nike outlet store.

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