Expensive cheapness

A letter to Hood River County Commissioner Les Perkins:

I am writing to let you know that I opposed big box stores in general and the proposed super Wal-Mart in particular. It has been my observation in other areas of the country that big box stores have a long history of damaging local economies and costing shoppers large amounts of time and money. Not only will a super Wal-Mart harm businesses in Hood River proper but also businesses in outlying communities, such as Cascade Locks, Odell and Parkdale. For myself McIsaac's Store is the most important business in the valley. I find items at McIsaac's to be reasonably priced and the store's location a mile from my house is invaluable. My family personally shops at McIsaac's about once a day. If McIsaac's were to lose additional business to a super Wal-Mart and be forced to close my family could expect to make an additional three to four trips to Hood River each week. At 30 miles for a round trip and 30 cents per mile that is $9 a trip, plus an hour of our time at $20 an hour for a total of $29 a trip. At three trips a week that would be $87 a week or $4,524 per year.

This is an astonishing amount of money that could never be offset by the small saving we could expect to see by shopping Wal-Mart. Even if it were possible to save $109 a week that would amount to only $520 per year so we would still be over $4,000 behind. It is my personal belief that the proposed super Wal-Mart constitutes an economic emergency for the Hood River Valley and I hope that you will do everything in your power to keep it from becoming a reality.

James T. Denton


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Lawnmower torches Arbor Vitae on Portland Drive

The riding lawn mower driven by Norma Cannon overheated and made contact with dry arbor vitae owned by Lee and Norma Curtis, sending more than a dozen of the tightly-packed trees up in flames. The mower, visible at far right, was totaled. No one was injured; neighbors first kept the fire at bay with garden hoses and Westside and Hood River Fire Departments responded and doused the fire before it reached any structures. Westside Fire chief Jim Trammell, in blue shirt, directs firefighters. The video was taken by Capt. Dave Smith of Hood River Fire Department. Enlarge

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