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Plans for a Black-Owned Business Hub Have Fallen Through


Karanja Crews



Dreams die hard. For Karanja Crews, the realization that his long-time goal of opening One Stop Plaza as a Black—owned business hub with food carts and a community gathering space is no longer possible, was a bitter defeat.

 

The basis of One Stop Plaza is a brightly mural-covered building at Northeast 15th and Killingsworth that would have been retrofitted to accommodate all its aspects.

 

Green Hammer Design Build, who designed the refurbished structure, stated on its website that One Stop Plaza was to be “a Black-owned business and cultural hub poised to become a beacon of community empowerment.”

 

One Stop Plaza would have featured 10 permanent food carts, and outdoor dining area and a covered stage. “One Stop Plaza will be equipped with a 1,200-gallon rainwater storage tank and a 36-kilowatt solar array, enabling it to double as an emergency shelter during severe weather events and power outages.

 

For the past two years, Crews has been trying to get grants to fund the project, appealed for help from Prosper Portland and other agencies, and finally resorted to a GoFundMe appeal earlier this month, but it fell short.

 

The building, which Crews had been leasing, will now go back to the owner, he said, and he has lost $15,000 in the process of trying to develop it.

 

A photo on Crews’ Instagram site reflects his frustration with his plans’ demise, which is spelled out on his LinkedIn site:

 

I made a bad call on this potential investment. Lost money. Thought Prosper Portland had my back on this project, but I was wrong. Trusting people too much is my bad. Lesson learned! Rolling the dice on this one was eye-opening. Each setback is a chance to grow. Big shoutout and thanks to everyone who had my back on this move!”

 

A long-time activist in the Black community, Crews is owner of Green Muse cannabis dispensary, and a former teacher and founder of Teaching With Purpose, for which he received the Martin Luther King Lifetime Achievement Award and the OnPoint Prize for Excellence in Education Circle of Excellence Award.

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