Editorial: Land use -- that's what the Walmart decision is

December 3, 2011

The Walmart expansion decision is in the hands of City Council now (details, page A1), but recent heated discourse on this development deserves a bit of perspective.

The company's expansion request needs to be considered as what it is, a land use matter. Many perspectives have been shared about Walmart's personnel policies, investment, operations and even ethical practices. None of that, favorable or unfavorable, is germane to the issue of whether or not the company should be allowed to add a grocery store to its existing facility.

Nor is the question one to put to a vote, as some quarters suggest. Businesses' decisions to settle, move, or expand are based on market forces. Such actions require some level of governmental approval, but they remain matters between the companies and the appointed or elected bodies.

Walmart's expansion request is physically large, as is the sense of politics around it, but it is a land use decision, not a political one.

However the City Council rules, businesses in the community will continue to do what they do, or adjust to the marketplace and local retail landscape.

We may not all agree on how a business conducts itself, how much it pays its employees, where and how it obtains its merchandise, and what happens to its profits. Thus, reactions to such concerns should be addressed by vote of the feet, or to put it another way, a vote of an open or shut wallet.

Flags Lowered

Buddy R. Herron

Gov. John Kitzhaber on Friday ordered all flags at public institutions to be flown at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Monday Dec. 5, 2011, in honor of Correctional Officer Buddy R. Herron.

"I, along with all Oregonians, was shocked and saddened by the news of Correctional Officer Buddy R. Herron's death. Even in a time of such sadness, I cannot help but be inspired by the way lived - serving the public, helping others and safeguarding lives," said Governor Kitzhaber. "Mr. Herron's family and friends are in our thoughts."

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