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Chasing Hillsdale

“JPMorgan Chase thinks that more branches correlates strongly with more assets, and it’s confident it can attract assets from beaten down regional banks and community banks, to the tune of $2billion a year in extra profit,” (www.fiercefinance.com). To this end, Chase wants to place a bank branch at the Northwest end of the Hillsdale Town CenterĀ  on this empty lot:

The Hillsdale Neighborhood Association first became aware of a proposed deal between the landowner and Chase this last summer, and the issue has been on the front burner since then (see minutes of past meetings at above link). Chase’s initial proposal for developing the site was a strip-mall-style McBank building, surrounded by a large parking lot. After feedback addressing the issues of pedestrian safety and support of local businesses, among others, Chase stated that it would adapt its building plan to comply with two hard-won neighborhood initiatives: the Hillsdale Town Center Plan and the Hillsdale Main Street program. Then, using loopholes, Chase proposed a second plan that technically was in compliance with the Town Center Plan, but disregarded the larger goals for local development. You can read more about the issues of this ongoing story in the Hillsdale News, the Portland Tribune, the Southwest Connection, and the Oregonian.

By the way, Chase Bank already has a branch nearby, in the Burlingame Fred Meyer, and the Hillsdale business district is served by Key Bank, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo. So if neighbors ever need a large bank (personally, I use a local credit union) there is no shortage of options. I work downtown, and Chase Bank branches seem nearly as ubiquitous as the coffee shops. One just opened a few weeks ago on the ground floor of my building:

When I look around Hillsdale, I see the results of decades of work by the talented, knowledgeable, indefatigable volunteers who have made it a great place to live and visit. I oppose the proposed Chase Bank in Hillsdale, both to honor their work, and because I support neighborhood sustainability and livability. So, on Saturday I stopped by Hillsdale’s newest business, Tre Bone, and signed the petition effort being spearheaded by journalist and local resident Rick Seifert, editor of the Hillsdale News and author of The Red Electric blog.

If I knew where to begin, I might even connect this to the bigger issues of corporate greed, the role of banks in the economic downturn, and economic justice, on this day we celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. For right now, I can write on a blog.

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