I was visiting Portland, Oregon last weekend and noted one particularly interesting location that seems to be changing owners and businesses every 12 to 18 months. There’s a new restaurant there now, new to me at least, and it’s the third one since 2003.

I found a story about this location and its changing face in a local newspaper. It had lasted more than 30 years as a single successful restaurant, then fell into disfavor. The worker-at-lunch customer base changed as the area changed. Several businesses that supplied the restaurant with customers moved.

There were 20 years of next to nothing in that location. But in the 1990s, the neighborhood came back. It became trendy (think of Soho in New York or the area east of Market Street in San Francisco). Traffic patterns changed, and local businesses changed. Now it seems like a good location.

Or so it seemed to the people who put a new restaurant there in 2003, the ones who put a different restaurant there in 2006 and, again, the ones who found it vacant this year and have just established another new restaurant there.

I don’t claim to know the restaurant business, but I wonder . . . do certain locations work, or not work, regardless of updates and traffic and parking? Is it a bad idea to establish were others have failed?

Listen to Peter and Jonathan talk about the friendliest and least friendly cities for businesses on the fourteenth episode of The Bcast, Bplan’s official podcast (at 27:42):
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Tim BerryTim Berry

Tim Berry is the founder and chairman of Palo Alto Software and Bplans.com. Follow him on Twitter @Timberry.