Three Established African American Owned Businesses Relocate to Alberta Commons

This spring, several successful, established entrepreneurs are relocating their businesses to Alberta Commons, located in the Alberta District of Northeast Portland. Together, the owners of the trio of businesses decided to open their doors on the same block in the heart of the community on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard––what they call “Dream Street.”

Jamaal and Christina Lane, Champions Barbershop; Project Manager Jessie Burke; Dayna and Cole Reed, greenHAUS Gallery and Boutique; and Theotis Cason, Cason’s Fine Meats in Portland, Oregon.(Photo: Alberta Commons)

Champions Barbershop opened it’s doors on April 20. greenHAUS gallery is slated to open in May, and Cason’s Fine Meats will open in June. A grand opening celebration for Alberta Commons as a whole is planned for Saturday, June 22, 2019.

Alberta Commons is located on the block bordered by Northeast Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, Alberta Street, Garfield Avenue and Sumner Street. Other current tenants of the shopping district include Natural Grocers and Wingstop.

The historically Black Portland neighborhood was created largely due to redlining real estate policies in the early 20th century, then was negatively impacted by urban planning in the 1950s and ‘60s, and was gentrified by builders and new renters and home buyers in the 2000s. The transformation of the neighborhood has been difficult on its residents—the once-majority Black neighborhood is now only 14% African American. According to a Portland State University study, more than 10,000 Black community members have left Central Portland recently, largely due to the increase in housing prices.

“This is a momentous time for our community. The relocation of my butcher shop, as well as the relocation of Champions Barbershop and greenHAUS gallery, is our effort to collectively replant our roots on MLK,” said Cason, who was born and raised in Northeast Portland. “It is time for us to celebrate our return to the heart of the neighborhood.”

“These business owners have chosen to locate their businesses in the Alberta neighborhood which has changed dramatically over the years,” added Roslyn Hill, who was born in Vanport, has owned businesses in the Alberta Arts District and is known as “The Queen of Alberta.” “It is not enough to just believe in our community, it needs to be supported, physically, economically and culturally. Together, we can support Alberta Commons as a community, a place of gathering.”

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