Salt and Straw Threatens to Move Headquarters from Portland



Salt and straw headquarters may be moved away from Portland.

Kim Malek, the co-founder of Salt and Straw, a famous and beloved ice cream shop currently based in Portland, announced in late November that their headquarters might be moved out of Portland. Built-up frustration over crime and safety issues in the city has pushed the co-founder over the edge, and she explains that if Multnomah County does not do anything to combat crime and make Portland safer, the business has no choice but to move its headquarters.

Salt and Straw has been one of Portland’s most iconic ice cream shops since 2011 when the business was confined to a food cart. Now, Salt and Straw has multiple locations in Portland and its surrounding suburbs. With their inventive, exotic flavors, such as avocado chocolate fudge and bone marrow and smoked cherries, they continue to attract many customers. The Salt and Straw website claims they are inspired by “being a good neighbor,” and the website states, “A business is only as strong as its community.” It’s not surprising that a business with principles like this would want to leave a place they feel unsafe in.

Oregon Live states that an RV fire near Salt and Straw’s headquarters in Portland shut down power. Also, someone pointed a gun at a Salt and Straw employee’s head recently. These are just a couple of events that have led the company to express its desire to move its headquarters to a safer location, outside of Portland. A civic advocate, Thomas Lauderdale, sent an email to community leaders in Portland City Hall about the RV fire and other incidents near Salt and Straw headquarters, saying that the main issue is the drugs fueling the violence occurring, according to Oregon Live. 

Malek doesn’t want to give up on Portland. She expressed her desire to be part of the solution to the problems she addressed, and she wants to work with elected leaders and help cut off the supply of drugs. PDX Eater states some of Malek’s plans. “There’s a big opportunity for the city and county especially to work with our local Central Eastside Industrial Council to come up with a plan to keep our streets safe. I’m really hopeful,” she states. Other businesses near Salt and Straw also worry about the safety of their employees. PDX Eater explains that a sushi spot, Fish & Rice, recently closed due to a series of break-ins. According to Portland police records, in January 2021, there were 618 reported cases of vandalism. In November of 2022, there were 1,213 reported cases of vandalism, almost double the amount in less than 2 years. These issues are what Malek aims to improve. Hopefully, Portland can become hospitable enough so that one of our favorite ice cream shops, and other businesses, can remain in Portland.