House of Louie owner says transients hurting business

Five year plan in the works for revival of Chinatown in Northwest Portland

House of Louie in Northwest Fourth Avenue and Davis Street in Portland's Chinatown, July 17, 2014. (KOIN 6)
House of Louie in Northwest Fourth Avenue and Davis Street in Portland's Chinatown, July 17, 2014. (KOIN 6)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN 6) — Two nearby Chinese restaurants in Old Town have closed recently, and the owner of the iconic House of Louie fears he may be the next to shut down.

James Leong told KOIN 6 News that transients have been scaring away his customers for years, and despite assurances from the City of Portland, Leong said circumstances are not approving.

James Leong of the House of Louie in Old Town Chinatown in Portland, March 17, 2014 (KOIN 6 News)
James Leong of the House of Louie in Old Town Chinatown in Portland, March 17, 2014 (KOIN 6 News)

“I don’t see it getting better. There are so many restaurants closed, and I don’t know where the people go,” said Leong.

In fact, Leong said he would walk away right now if his landlord would allow him to terminate his lease for the restaurant on Northwest Fourth Avenue and Davis Street.

Shawn Uhlman with the Portland Development Commission said one of the main things the agency is working on is the five year action plan to help revive Chinatown.

He said the goals of the plan include developing properties and attracting more working professionals by building more upscale housing.

Development can be seen happening in the area already. In March, 2BWell Clinic opened its second store near SW Second Avenue and West Burnside Street.

The clinic is a business that Portland Mayor Charlie Hales said will attract more working professionals, which is key to making the five year plan work.

Meanwhile, Leong said the city has promised to develop the area before but has heard a “life line” is one the way. He said he just hopes he’ll still be in business to grab it when it comes.

 

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