Court ruling puts Walmart one step closer in The Dalles

Marion County Circuit Judge Dale Penn issued a ruling Monday that moved the proposal to site a Walmart Super Center in The Dalles another step closer to reality.

Citizens for Responsible Development in The Dalles had challenged the Department of Environmental Quality’s approval of the company’s development plan for the 150,000-square-foot store on a 21-acre property near the Chenoweth interchange.

The appeal hearing was filed by Citizens in Marion County because that is the location of Salem, the state capital, and the decision of a state agency was being disputed.

“We are pleased with the judge’s ruling affirming Oregon DEQ’s approval of Walmart’s stormwater management plan, an important step for this long-anticipated store to move forward,” said Rachel Wall, senior communications manager for Walmart.

“We look forward to fulfilling the need that our customers and the city have clearly identified — to provide a commercial retail option consistent with the city’s comprehensive plan for a full-service store in the western part of The Dalles.”

She said the planned store will employ about 300 associates and provide citizens of The Dalles with a one-stop shopping option.

John Nelson, a representative of Citizens, attended the trial and issued this written statement Monday evening on behalf of the group: “CFRD is saddened that this decision is going to allow further wetland destruction in the Columbia River floodplain. We need to preserve, not destroy these valuable resources.”

Nelson said Citizens are further reviewing the DEQ permit and will be evaluating whether to appeal or challenge it.

On Jan. 28, Penn directed Walmart’s legal counsel, Greg Hathaway, and the Oregon Attorney General to prepare the final order for his signature, which is expected to be signed within the next couple of weeks.

Walmart’s proposal, which was approved by the City of The Dalles, has also been held up for about three years by regulatory challenges.

Wall said the company is working with the Army Corps and Oregon Division of State Lands to obtain the necessary state and federal permits for wetland mitigation. She anticipates a decision on those permits within the next few months.

To compensate for the loss of wetlands under the building and 8-acre parking lot, the company has proposed to create two small and one large wetland. In addition, the habitat degraded by prior excavation and the placement of fill material would be enhanced.

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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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