Wal-Mart: creating a westside gorilla?


Special to the News

I can certainly appreciate comments in the Hood River News about selection and convenience at the current Wal-Mart store. I have nothing against the current store in its location; it fills a need in this community.

But I am sickened at the thought of the proposed 187,000 square-foot supercenter at our front door. In the County’s Comprehensive Plan, it states, “The height, bulk, and scale of buildings shall be compatible with the site and buildings in the surrounding area.” If built, it would be incompatible with its surroundings. The largest building in Hood River is the current Wal-Mart at 72,000 square feet, followed by the Rosauers complex at 71,000. (See graph below.)

Safeway, the Waucoma Center, Gorge Discovery Center, and Skamania Lodge (convention center, restaurant and lounge) are all between 48,000-50,000 square feet. Wal-Mart proposes a structure that is two and one-half times larger than its existing store, 17 times bigger than any commercial building that could ever be built in the vicinity. The proposed building is incompatible with our community, but let’s also consider the traffic impacts.

Not only will the traffic be congested on Frankton, Country Club, and Cascade Avenue but also on May Street and Rand Road as people try to snake their way downtown because of the projected 15,000 new car trips that a supercenter would bring. Imagine if you live on the Westside — no doubt you have always driven to town down Country Club or Frankton, but if the supercenter were built, you would probably try Rand Road, then try 13th or as far as 7th Street to avoid the traffic.

One last thought — a friend just got back from Omaha and at their Wal-Mart supercenter there flew a 35-foot blown-up gorilla in the parking lot. Welcome to Hood River!


Judie Hanel lives in Hood River.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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