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general

The proposed WalMart would not be located in Sellwood. It would be located in Ardenwald, across 99E from Sellwood.

How can you possibly argue that a WalMart located in a densely populated and trafficked corridor like 99E / Tacoma / Johnson Creek would contribute to sprawl?

On retail, you make the common mistake of generalizing from WalMart's impact in rural areas and on "Main Streets" to its impact in an urban setting. Specifically, what local businesses in Sellwood would be harmed by WalMart? The retail in Sellwood is highly specialized and boutique. Downtown Milwaukie has little or no retail for WalMart to destroy.

I question your claim that the "public at large" recognizes the things you claim. The "public at large" have embraced large retail shops as time savers and money savers.

Opposition to WalMart is focused in a particular segment of the populace which either a) does not want "low rent" shoppers in their area (see the Cedar Mills opponents) or b) opposes WalMart because they are "too big" (too successful?) and wishes Americans didn't shop there.

Other than some real traffic concerns, I don't see why a large retail establishment at that corner is not a very GOOD use of that location. There will *never* be small retail shops there--it is too far for anyone to walk. It will *have* to be a large facility with parking (as the Mills End shop was previously).

Brian Libby

"The proposed WalMart would not be located in Sellwood. It would be located in Ardenwald, across 99E from Sellwood."

You're right and I'm wrong, but I say you're splitting hairs.

"How can you possibly argue that a WalMart located in a densely populated and trafficked corridor like 99E / Tacoma / Johnson Creek would contribute to sprawl?"

Again, you make a fair point. I used the Oregonian story about the proposed ARDENWALD(!) Wal-Mart as the jumping-off point for a conversation about the broader nationwide phenomenon of communities fighting the creation of new Wal-Mart establishments.

"On retail, you make the common mistake of generalizing from WalMart's impact in rural areas and on "Main Streets" to its impact in an urban setting. Specifically, what local businesses in Sellwood would be harmed by WalMart? The retail in Sellwood is highly specialized and boutique. Downtown Milwaukie has little or no retail for WalMart to destroy."

SOME of Sellwood's retail is specialized and boutique, but certainly not all of it. I actually think the greater threat is to Milwaukie. That city has undergone a succession of moves to attract retail (and shoppers) back to its downtown: the addition of more greenspace, better designed streetscapes at the pedestrian level. I think Wal-Mart would threaten that process.

"I question your claim that the 'public at large' recognizes the things you claim. The 'public at large' have embraced large retail shops as time savers and money savers."

My, so many quotation marks you use! I can just see you making the little finger motions to go along with it. Seriously, though: Obviously it's true large retailers like Wal-Mart prosper in these scenarios. No one has ever argued that, considering that the chain is now America's largest employer. But that isn't an indication that they are healthy for the communities they host. I was referring to an increasing groundswell of public opinion, one that is admittedly dwarfed by actual Wal-Mart shoppers but clearly rising as a socio-political force.

"Opposition to WalMart is focused in a particular segment of the populace which either a) does not want "low rent" shoppers in their area (see the Cedar Mills opponents) or b) opposes WalMart because they are "too big" (too successful?) and wishes Americans didn't shop there."

Oh, please. I'm more than willing to live near so-called low rent shoppers, otherwise known as poor people. I'm opposed to big-box retailers mostly because of the physical form their outlets take and the way the areas in which they exist are zoned. I'm a proponent of mixed-use development oriented around greenspace and mass transit, but places such as Wal-Mart are almost always in huge single-use buildings surrounded by massive surface parking lots. I can only speak for myself, but that's what you are debating. And I, at least, believe the people shopping there are not the issue at hand so much as the urban planning, zoning, and architecture.

"Other than some real traffic concerns, I don't see why a large retail establishment at that corner is not a very GOOD use of that location. There will *never* be small retail shops there--it is too far for anyone to walk. It will *have* to be a large facility with parking (as the Mills End shop was previously)."

Yeah, but why not build something without such a daunting scale? A cluster of smaller buildings is better. While you're at it, create a parking garage to better maximize space and use some of the surrounding area for landscaping and places for people to gather? Not only would the community be better for it, but so would Wal-Mart.

This isn't about bashing Wal-Mart so much as saying the company is not welcome in its current form. That's how I feel and how many, many others doo too. It's a current you can't dismiss.

NJD

WalMart stores are always bad architecture both in a physical nonsustainable shell and in the urban planning sense. The last thing that should even be considered at this future light rail station site should be a WalMart nor its parking lot.
I do believe "general" is right on one note about this locations contribution on sprawl, however WalMart stores add to the vehicle dependancy of America. All Americans can see the detrimental impact that the last 50 years of suburban planning and corporatization has and will have as we lose our oil supplies.
Walmart is not a good company by any means; it pays its employees minimal wages and keeps the majority of employees as part-time workers to avoid all health and other benefits. WalMart is not a success, they are a very predatory business that provides the cheapest of goods to the poor. In my personal opinion they are the worst retailer just for their aggresive tactics, tactics which will take money currently in circulation amongst the nearbye communities of Sellwood, Moreland, Ardenwood, and Milwaukee and send it out of state.
Sorry "general," I respect your opinion, but I strongly recommend doing a little research on the WalMart corporation.
*side note: as I type this rant there is a WalMart advertisement in the google ad bar to the side of this page. ---->

Jack Bog

99E through the Morelands and Sellwood will never, ever, ever, ever be pedestrian friendly. It is a high-speed state highway. So let's stop talking as though that is what the Wal-Mart "struggle" is really about.

Dave

How about requiring Wal-Mart to encorporate a light-rail stop into their store for when the rail line is built. This would add a Portland touch to their store and make it a positive addition to the community.

Also the shoppers are Wal-Mart are more likely to come from other big box shoppers like Fred Meyer. People who can afford to shop at the speciality stores in Sellwood and Milwaukie are not going to become Wal-Mart shoppers.

Bob R.

Isn't it the case that a zoning change or special permit would be required to accomodate a Wal-Mart or similarly configured business on this site?

Am I missing something here? If the property were already zoned for this, local governments and organizations would be relatively unable to protest? What is to keep local governments from saying "no" as opposed to rubber-stamping the project? Would the developer then play the Measure 37 card?

Also, I seem to remember reading in earlier articles that the proposed Wal-Mart would be multi-story, have an integral parking garage, and would be smaller than most other Wal-Marts. Although that doesn't address their dismal employment practices, doesn't it do something to limit the architectural criticisms? If they threw a light rail station into the mix (might happen) and allowed employee collective bargaining (probably will never happen), would that remove all objections?

I'm a bit out of the loop on this one, so forgive me if any of this has been covered here before.

- Bob R.

generally wondergin

Bob,
The site is pretty much zoned for large retail use. The previous use was a large Mills End store.

Brian,

It seems to me using quotes when I am quoting you is reasonable.

I guess you're admitting that WalMart would not threaten the retail that forms the basis of most of Sellwood. I would argue that *most* is boutique--other than the hardware store and QFC (both located relatively far away and I suspect survivable on local foot traffic), there is really little retail in Sellwood that competes with WalMart.

Downtown Milwaukie, I dunno. It's still pretty dead. Maybe it's on the rise. The Albertson mall nearby can't help. But I suppose Albertsons and Sharis are not WalMart, right?

I mention the location in Ardenwald rather than Sellwood to counter the widely held mis-perception about the location. The opponents have been strategic in describing this as the Sellwood WalMart, but that's just not accurate.

Brian, you are naive if you don't realize that many are opposing WalMart because they don't like having a retailer who appeals to low income shoppers in their midst. Read the stories by Eric Norberg in the Bee about WalMart shoppers. Read the quotes about the Cedar Mills WalMart. The implications are clear.

NJD's post captures what really motivates the opposition--people don't like corporations or they don't like globalization or they don't like minimum wage employers and they have decided to focus that energy on WalMart.

I respect that, but respond: do you subject other businesses to the same scrutiny? What multinationals meet Portland's special level of scrutiny and which do not (and given our continued stubborn high unemployment, can we afford to be so picky)? How about the local construction firms and restaurants that use illegals? How about small businesses that pay minimum wage and have lousy benefits packages?

You want to pressure WalMart to be a better corporate citizen--go for it. But be honest about why you oppose this firm.

madmilker

is it there yet?

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