Wednesday, October 31, 2001
The purpose of my letter is to urge the Hood River County Commissioners to adopt a footprint ordinance similar to the 50,000-foot limit on retail outlets that the City of Hood River recently passed. As a resident of Hood River County, I am concerned about the negative impact of a Wal-Mart mega store on our local economy.
To be sure, a Wal-Mart mega store will be detrimental to the small, locally owned businesses that are vital to our economy. I believe that it is more important to sustain the vitality of our local small scale shopping districts than to enrich Wal-Mart Corporation and its stockholders.
How can a gigantic 185,000-foot retail space (bigger than four football fields) be appropriate for a town of 6,000 people? While growth is an essential part of our economy, haphazard growth such as this mega store has long-term consequences that will ultimately erode our quality of life, which in itself, is a valuable resource of Hood River County.
Obviously Wal-Mart's intentions are to attract shoppers from surrounding areas. Will these shoppers be patronizing other stores in Hood River once they're here? I doubt it, since this mega-store will most likely offer everything they could want in a one-stop shopping experience.
A Wal-Mart mega store will also degrade the visual and aesthetic character of our community. We'll have a gigantic box-like structure with a sea of asphalt greeting folks who visit Hood River to complement the abandoned smaller (but just as ugly) box-like structure just blocks away.
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Bridge of the Gods Kite Fest 2016
Kiteboarders in action during the pro competition Friday at the 16th Annual Bridge of the Gods Kite Fest in Stevenson. All photos by Ben Mitchell. Enlarge