Iconic Business Declares Portland 'Unsafe' City and Accidentally Outs Biden's Open-Border Insanity

AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

Leaders of a successful Portland start-up ice cream purveyor-turned-national chain say they “can’t stay here” because it’s so unsafe. Chalk up another one. So I guess it’s now safe to talk about Portland, Oregon’s horrible leadership and how much Mayor Ted Wheeler and other Leftist leaders have let the place go.  And the business inadvertently has done one more thing: condemned the Biden administration’s open-border insanity. Read on.


Portland shows us what happens when Leftist ideology meets the real world. Leaders of this city for years have ridden the coattails of the legacy written by pioneering business leaders and others visionaries. Instead of encouraging business and doing the fundamentals — such as keeping the damned place safe — that pay the bills, McKinsey-type leaders, thinking they knew it all, plugged in the “consulting class” playbook, ignored the city’s foundations, and began to remake the quaint city into their image. They fangirled over national leaders who did the same destructive stuff on a national scale.

And here we are with dystopia. And not just run-of-the-mill dystopia, but expensive dystopia.

Oh, sure, the city’s still naturally beautiful. I grew up in Portland and spent many years there working on the radio and raising my kids. Now my kids have bailed. I lived near Forest Park on my last stint there.  I’ve enjoyed skiing in Oregon’s mountains, splashing in the cold Pacific, and picking blueberries on the local farm. But, as Donald Trump might have said, this place has turned into a sh*thole.

I grew up near Laurelhurst Park, which was fashioned after New York’s Central Park. My mom and dad were thrilled. They fixed up a run-down 1914 saltbox home and that’s where we lived–one bathroom, five people, and an old milk chute where milkmen would leave the day’s offerings in older times. When we lived there, the milk chute was used to sneak in and out of the house. The fuse box was a constant concern. “Don’t use the hair dryer in the bathroom, you’ll blow…”– oops, too late. The fuse was blown. But it was so much nicer than a cracker box, post-World War II in outer Southeast Portland, where we moved from.


In our “new” house, we’d play in Laurelhurst Park and sometimes would walk through it with my neighbors on our way to school. Now, under the city’s current leadership, Laurelhurst Park is unsafe to be in due to the tent cities and drug addicts populating it.

After engaging in civic dalliances, majoring in minors, and wresting capital from taxpayers to engage in embroidering the city to resemble dystopia, actual visionaries are bailing. Or thinking about it.

This brings us to Salt and Straw. The Portland founder of the delightful ice cream shop often sees lines down the street. When Joe Biden came to town and got a Baskin-Robbins ice cream cone, Portland wags announced that he’d gone to the “wrong” ice cream store. He should have gone to Salt and Straw, of course!

The place has really grown. It’s branched out from its multiple locations in Portland to the trendiest locations in L.A., Eugene, Seattle, San Diego, Nancy Pelosi’s neighborhood in Pacific Heights, Silicon Valley, Anaheim, Sacramento, Orlando, and Miami. No wonder Duane “The Rock” Johnson wanted a piece of the business.

But unlike Portland leaders, business owners know that you’ve got to have firm fundamentals in place to thrive. And now, the ice cream moguls who run Salt and Straw say they can’t stay in Portland unless employees at the headquarters feel safe. If you’re at all unclear, besides pubic solvency, public safety is a city’s number one fundamental task. Portland has failed spectacularly.


Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler has protested with Antifa and BLM rioters, blamed police for the wrongs committed by coddled anarchists, and done nothing until recently about the drugged-out bums lining Portland’s sidewalks and living in tents and run-down RVs along its roads. Wheeler has turned the City of Roses into a portrait of dystopia. The state has given its blessing to the right to keep “personal use” amounts of hard drugs, the city is a sanctuary city for illegal aliens, and the immigration facility is a frequent target of Antifa arsonists.

Wheeler and his Leftist cohorts have condemned ICE and thrown their lot in with the anarchists.

And now Salt and Straw has noticed.

The co-founder of the business, Kim Malek, told The Oregonian that “if we can’t make it safe, I can’t stay here. It’s just not responsible of me to put my team in that position.”

The paper reported that this week “a fire in an RV parked at Southeast 3rd Avenue and Ash Street near the company’s headquarters and kitchen shut down power to Salt & Straw and several other businesses after the blaze brought down a transformer.” A fire in an RV parked randomly in Portland and likely filled with addicted drug cookers.

You can imagine how hard it is for a Portland business owner to make such a statement, knowing how the Left’s marauding bands of Antifa anarchists and screeching BLM activists may target her business. So you can safely assume things are far worse. And, of course, they are. A friend of the business, Thomas Lauderdale, of another iconic Portland institution, the band “Pink Martini,” wrote to city and county leaders that “someone recently pointed a gun at the head of a Salt & Straw employee.”


And here’s where things get far more interesting. And it’s where the Left is finally getting unintentionally wise about border security, though they won’t readily admit this.

Malek, who founded the company in Portland with her cousin Tyler Malek, said she would prefer to find a solution by working with elected leaders. “It’s really hard for a lot of people right now,” she said. “I’m not here to point fingers. I want to be part of the solution.”

She’s especially interested in helping to cut off the supply of drugs into Portland that she sees fueling crime, she said. “We intend to work through this,” she said. “I cannot stay here if we don’t.” [emphasis added]

Ah, yes, the supply of drugs. And where do you suppose those drugs are coming from, Lefties?

Lauderdale wrote, “their lease is up in April, and although it will cost them millions and millions to relocate, they are at a breaking point, and are planning to move out of state.” He added, “this is less a homeless issue; it is a health and public safety and drug issue. The schizophrenia we’re seeing, the violence, the fires … this is drug-fueled, and it needs to be addressed immediately.”

When Oregon and other states wanted to target methamphetamines, legislators passed a law outlawing the open sale of pseudoephedrine, which backyard drug alchemists would turn into meth. The Mexican cartel drug labs picked up the slack. They filled the orders using cheap Chinese-supplied fentanyl to cut into the street drugs.


Now let’s add another data point. How do you think those drugs get into the U.S., Lefties? Balloons? Slingshots? Tunnels? All of the above and … human traffickers.

The waves of illegal aliens brought over by the cartels and other coyotes fulfill part of their obligation by carrying drugs and trafficking their women and children.

Recently I spoke with a San Francisco-based reporter about the homeless issue there. During our conversation (on my “Adult in the Room” podcast), I mentioned to her that she must be in favor of closing the borders then. Slightly confused, she asked me why. And I told her what I’m telling you. She was shocked but said it made sense.

And that’s why you have RVs lined up along  Portland streets with people living their drugged-up lives, collecting their government checks, and using that money to cook their food and drugs and start fires.

“We would consider all options,” Salt and Straw’s Malek told The Oregonian. “We don’t have concrete plans. But our intention is to be at the table working with the city and county to find a solution and not move. Portland is part of the soul of our company. We love this city. This is about having a safe place for our team to work.”


She’d better make plans to go to a place that doesn’t offer such a fertile ground for lawlessness.


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