Walmart groceries?

Retailer looks to expand HR store

Walmart Stores Inc. wants to sell groceries in Hood River.

The Arkansas-based company has filed a document known as a pre-application for the proposed expansion of its West Cascade Store to allow for up to 30,000 additional square feet, to sell groceries.

The city will meet with Walmart representatives Jan. 18 in a staff-level pre-application meeting to review substantive issues such as building design, traffic, storm water and fire protection, according to City Planning Director Cindy Walbridge.

Walmart is applying for a "vested right" to do the work, arguing in the preliminary document that the expansion is entitled under the original 1991 land use permit that led to the existing store.

Walmart's attorney will prepare a fully vested application after pre-application process, according to Walbridge.

Also following pre-application, Walmart intends to request a Site Plan Review permit for exterior upgrades and alternations, according to the application, filed by Pacland, a Portland planning firm.

City Attorney Dan Kerands will review the pre-application and advise the planning staff.

Also, the city has decided to hire a traffic engineer to study the submittal.

"We're getting ready for what we're going to tell them," Walbridge said.

While most design features are yet unknown, the proposed expansion would involve façade changes and a new vehicle entry, which would be amendments to the 1991 permit.

Two traffic changes would take effect:

Walmart's main vehicle access would be off Cascade Avenue at the existing west entrance.

A traffic light would be installed at Rand and Cascade, the other existing Walmart access point.

Further, under a restriction stipulated by Oregon Department of Transportation known as "right only, right only," cars would be able to make right-turns only from Rand onto West Cascade and from Rand onto Wasco. The only access to Walmart would be at the western entrance off Cascade.

Vehicles entering Wasco from Cascade could not turn down the existing ramp that runs parallel to Cascade, fronting Walmart. A physical barrier would be placed at the intersection to disallow left turns into Walmart at that location, but west-east truck traffic from West Cascade onto Wasco and back would be ensured, to serve industrial customers.

Approval as a vested right would require a separate application, which Walbridge said she expects to be filed after the pre-application meeting.

Walbridge said Rand-Cascade was the one intersection identified in recent traffic studies as most needing signalization.

The city recently received ODOT's approval to move forward with the signal, with requirements including "the right-only, right only" requirements.

Walbridge, who was planner when the Walmart plans were approved in 1991, said she remembers the 30,000-foot expansion clause in the original site plan, and that it was discussed in the application.

Asked if the Rand-Cascade signal was connected to the Walmart proposal, Walbridge said, "No, but there is a connection now; but it was moving along separately before Walmart made its pre-application."

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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 to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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