The state of Oregon is selling 146 acres of land to help Wal-Mart build a distribution center in Salem, Oregon which will supply the stores that citizens of Oregon are now fighting all across the state. According to the Statesman Journal, the Wal-Mart distribution center would be the first tenant in the state-owned Mill Creek Industrial Park in southeast Salem. Wal-Mart will pay nearly $12 million for the property. Many of Wal-Mart’s distribution centers exceed one million square feet, the size of 20 football fields pieced together. Wal-Mart claims that 400 to 600 jobs are created by such centers. A spokesman for the company said, “For us, it’s the accessibility to the network of stores we currently have in the region and planning for future growth.” Yet many of the supercenters planned for Oregon have become mired in controversy, or defeated. There is already a Wal-Mart distribution center for clothing, hardware and household items in Hermiston, Oregon, which is about ten years old. Wal-Mart was apparently the only party to respond to the state’s request for proposals to develop the land in question. Wal-Mart currently operates 12 supercenters and 17 discount stores in Oregon, and employs 10,112 workers. The company does not list how many jobs it has destroyed in Oregon over the past ten years. In 1995, Wal-Mart had no supercenters in Oregon, and 17 discount stores. So the state has not yet been burdened by “dark stores” that Wal-Mart has abandoned.
For a list of communities in Oregon which have fought, or defeated Wal-Mart, search the Newflash page by “Oregon.” Many of the stores in Wal-Mart’s distribution system in Oregon have been defeated, or seriously delayed by local residents. Oregon has a strong land use management tradition, and Wal-Mart supercenters run counter to that tradition.