Salt & Straw was created to be a community gathering place, according to its website , but co-founder Kim Malek said Wednesday that if things don't change, they'd be forced to leave

An iconic ice cream business has threatened to move its Portland headquarters out of Oregon as crime, drug use and homelessness continue to plague the woke Democratic city.  

Salt & Straw was created to be a community gathering place, according to its website. 

It was set up as a parlor in 2011, and quickly became known as one of the United States’ best scoop shops, further bolstering Portland’s reputation as one of America’s best foodie cities.

But co-founder Kim Malek said Wednesday that if things don’t change, her firm will be forced to leave. 

‘We would consider all options,’ Malek told Oregon Live. ‘We don’t have concrete plans. But our intention is to be at the table working with the city and county to find a solution and not move. Portland is part of the soul of our company. We love this city. This is about having a safe place for our team to work.’ 

Rising crime and homeless camps that have spread from downtown and into the suburbs have pushed out countless businesses and residents. 

In recent one incident, someone pointed a gun at a Salt & Straw employee’s head, according to civic advocate Thomas Lauderdale who sent an email to two dozen community leaders in Portland City Hall, Multnomah County and Oregon’s congressional delegation.

The email highlight other incidents that happened near the headquarters, including a fire at an RV parked near the business which resulted in power loss. 

Dilapidated RVs are used by homeless people throughout the city, and are often spotted parked near encampments.  

The Democratic city has one of the most deserted downtowns in the United States as soaring crime rates and homelessness are scaring away both locals and tourists. 

In 2021, there were 90 homicides amid a surge in gun violence, which shattered city’s previous record high of 66 set more than three decades ago. There have been 72 murders recorded in 2022 so far. 

Salt & Straw was created to be a community gathering place, according to its website , but co-founder Kim Malek said Wednesday that if things don't change, they'd be forced to leave

Salt & Straw was created to be a community gathering place, according to its website , but co-founder Kim Malek said Wednesday that if things don’t change, they’d be forced to leave

Ice Cream business Salt & Straw has threatened to move its Portland headquarters out of Oregon as crime, drug use and homelessness continue to plague the Democratic city

Ice Cream business Salt & Straw has threatened to move its Portland headquarters out of Oregon as crime, drug use and homelessness continue to plague the Democratic city

Rising crime and homeless camps that have spread from downtown and into the suburbs have pushed out countless businesses and residents

Rising crime and homeless camps that have spread from downtown and into the suburbs have pushed out countless businesses and residents

On Monday, the RV fire near the company’s headquarters brought down a transformer and caused Salt & Straw and several other businesses to lose power. 

The fire and gun incident were detailed in the email by Lauderdale.  

‘Their lease is up in April, and although it will cost them millions and millions to relocate, they are at a breaking point, and are planning to move out of state,’ Lauderdale wrote. 

‘This is less a homeless issue; it is a health and public safety and drug issue. The schizophrenia we’re seeing, the violence, the fires … this is drug fueled, and it needs to be addressed immediately.’ 

Malek, who founded the company in Portland with her cousin Tyler Malek, told Oregon Live that she doesn’t want the company to move, and said she would prefer to find a solution by working with elected leaders. 

‘It’s really hard for a lot of people right now,’ she said. ‘I’m not here to point fingers. I want to be part of the solution.’ She hasn’t said where Salt & Straw might move instead, although the firm now has parlors across the US – including in Florida. 

Malek added that one solution she’s interested in exploring is cutting off the supply of drugs into Portland that she believes is fueling crime.

‘If we can’t make it safe, I can’t stay here,’ Malek said. ‘It’s just not responsible of me to put my team in that position.’ 

Residents and business owners have been saying for months that escalating crime and homelessness is affecting their way of life and safety.

‘Our intention is to work through this,’ Malek said. ‘I cannot stay here if we don’t.’ 

The ice cream shop started in Portland, but now has shops all over the United States including in cities Seattle, Los Angeles, San Diego, Miami and even in Disney. 

Jason Bolt, the owner of Revant Optics, who also threatened to leave the area, testified at City Hall in early November that his employees feel unsafe going to work. 

‘If the city is not going to take care of their citizens and create a safe place for businesses to operate, then we’re going to go somewhere else,’ Bolt said. ‘We have to look out for the safety of our teams.’

Malek, who founded the company in Portland with her cousin Tyler Malek, said she doesn't want to move, and said she would prefer to find a solution by working with elected leaders

Malek, who founded the company in Portland with her cousin Tyler Malek, said she doesn’t want to move, and said she would prefer to find a solution by working with elected leaders

Malek added that one solution she's interested in exploring is cutting off the supply of drugs into Portland that she believes is fueling crime

Malek added that one solution she’s interested in exploring is cutting off the supply of drugs into Portland that she believes is fueling crime

Tim Boyle, CEO of Columbia Sportswear, also got the email from Lauderdale, said it will move its Sorel brand out of downtown Portland offices early next year and onto the parent company’s Washington County campus. 

In response to the ice cream business’ possible move, he said: ‘It doesn’t surprise me. It’s a challenge.’ 

Portland currently has more than 700 homeless encampments across the city within less than 150 square miles, and the ordeal has also led to skyrocketing crime in the area.

And some of the most charming, trendy and expensive neighborhoods of the Pacific Northwest city are now overrun with tent cities crowding residential sidewalks and littered with trash – and the issue is scaring away both locals and tourists. 

Portland currently has more than 700 homeless encampments across the city within less than 150 square miles, and the ordeal has also led to skyrocketing crime in the area

Portland currently has more than 700 homeless encampments across the city within less than 150 square miles, and the ordeal has also led to skyrocketing crime in the area

Some of the most charming, trendy and expensive neighborhoods of the Pacific Northwest city are now overrun with tent cities crowding residential sidewalks and littered with trash - and the issue is scaring away both locals and tourists

Some of the most charming, trendy and expensive neighborhoods of the Pacific Northwest city are now overrun with tent cities crowding residential sidewalks and littered with trash – and the issue is scaring away both locals and tourists

Portland City Council rushed to refund the police last November after defunding them more by more than $15 million in 2020. Officials voted to add $5.4 million to the force’s budget.

When the police was defunded in 2020, the Portland Police Bureau suffered through a rash of retirements and resignations. 

Portland saw a dramatic increase in shootings and murders after Floyd’s death. The city saw a 250 percent increase in murders within the first six months of Floyd’s death and shootings rose almost 175 per cent.

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