Four years ago, the City of Portland leased a city-owned building to Ararat Bakery and showered them with more than $650,000 in loans to get started in the Lents neighborhood. It didnt last long.
The Ararat Bakery opened in 2009 in the Lents neighborhood after getting $650,000 from the city of Portland. It closed in 2011.
The owners couldnt pay the rent, the city kicked them out and the loan the city made to the bakery owners ended up being taxpayer money down the drain.
They only repaid a total of $10.
Now, the city is about to spend $1 million on a new brewery in the Lents neighborhood.
Eric Garner told KOIN 6 News hes lived in the Lents neighborhood long enough to have seen a big improvement. He lives about a block away from where the proposed new brewery will be built. Hes seen the failures, and he hopes the new business coming here sticks.
But he said the city spent a lot of money and most of it hasnt worked.
He likes the brewery idea, though.
Excellent idea, especially since its a very family oriented type of brewery, he said. Itd be nice to have a place to go and have a burger with the kids and sit down.
Jesse Cornett, the chair of the Lents Neighborhood Association, said the use of taxpayer money to try and grow a business in the area is worth it.
When the same tools dont always work theyre looking for new ones now and this new brew pub is a potential new catalyst for the neighborhood, Cornett said.
A family friendly, craft beer making facility is the right fit, he said, since it would attract the locals and produce beer that will likely be exported to other neighborhoods of Portland and beyond.
If this neighborhood is going to thrive were going to have to make things here that are going to go to other parts of Portland and beyond, he told KOIN 6 News. This is a great first step and this type of business is going to be a catalyst that will bring a lot of other businesses to the neighborhood.