PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The iconic House of Louie has had better days. Owner James Leong said the combination of homeless, transient and mentally ill populations that are in front of his store all the time have driven his customers away and forced him to work 16 hours a day seven days a week just to pay the rent.
Portland Mayor Charlie Hales plans to invest tens of millions of dollars in Old Town, and for beleaguered business owners in Old Town China Town, the message is: Help is on the way with more urban renewal money, more housing and more commercial development.
“More people here means more business,” Leong told KOIN 6 News.
Leong said more commercial and residential development would put more people in his restaurant. There have been some successes in the area, but he still sees too many dark storefronts.
The Portland Tribune reports Mayor Hales asked the Portland Development Commission for a five-year action plan for Old Town China Town that calls for improved policing, loans to improve buildings and storefronts and a big emphasis on developing middle income apartments.
Leong said he’s encouraged about what may be coming, but right now he’s so discouraged he says he feels numb.
“I put the money in to improve and clean up the building or a new look but I don’t see that happen,” he said.