Nike BEGS Portland mayor for police protection to reopen shuttered community store plagued with retail theft

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On February 9, Nike sent a letter to Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler and city officials asking for more police at their MLK Community Store, which has been closed for months because of ongoing retail theft, with the shoe brand even proposing to pay law enforcement directly if it would bring them the protection they were requesting.

According to KGW8, Nike proposed two options. The company was open to creating an “intergovernmental agreement” with the city of Portland to directly fund full-time police officers who would be selected to police the store. A second option would be to pay off-duty Portland Police Bureau officers as contracted security.

According to the Oregonian, Nike released a statement that said, “Because a safe and secure workplace is essential for our employees, consumers, and communities, we have proposed a sustained and coordinated partnership with the City to better protect employees, consumers, and the community surrounding our MLK Community Store.”

Sarah Mensah, Nike’s North America general manager, and chief security officer Joe Marsico said their company closed the MLK Community Store “in response to deteriorating public safety conditions and rapid escalation in retail theft.

The letter sent to Wheeler and Portland officials said “to date, the proposed solutions offered and the current public safety situation” did not leave any room for the store to reopen, leading to the company’s new proposal.

Nike said that under their new plan, they would continue to hire private security in addition to the police. The difference is that the private security contracted by the company is not legally allowed to intervene physically in a retail theft crime, which is a common practice in American retail stores. The police would have the power to detain and arrest individuals caught in the commission of a crime.

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