Wal-Mart ran straight into a WAL of opposition this week in the community of Hillsboro, Oregon. Even Wal-Mart heard the crash. ” “We’ve got a collision that happened here tonight,” Greg Hathaway, Wal-Mart’s attorney was quoted in the Oregonian newspaper. Wal-Mart has applied to construct a 210,000 s.f. superstore on Northwest Cornelius Pass. Resident have taken issue with the huge store because of its location adjacent to residential communities, and the inadequacy of the two lane roads leading to the site. Resident also fear the loss of sequoia trees on the property. At the Wal-Mart hearing, one resident compared Wal-Mart to an unwelcomed houseguest. “The current proposal for placing a Wal-Mart in our community does not respect the community. It gives no consideration to people in their homes. Wal-Mart is inviting 10,000 strangers a day into our home, having an all-night party and refusing to help with the dishes.” Michael Lilly, attorney representing some of the neighbors, told the Plannning Commission the developer’s traffic numbers were underestimated. and failed to compensate for the traffic generated by 1,000 homes around theproject. Here’s one account of the Hillsboro collision as told by an area resident: ” 250 citizens of Hillsboro, Oregon??stood up against the team hired by Wal-mart to place a 210,000 foot SUPERSTORE in the most residential location imaginable.?? It is on a 25 acre lot (with an amazing grove of 75 year old sycamore trees) that is surrounded on all sides by single family housing built in the last 4 – 5 years.?? All roads leading to the Walmart are two lane (one each way.)?? Their team?? claimed that they aim to serve only a 5 mile radius -??yet the closest Wal-Mart is 40 minutes away??and we have over 250,000 people on our side of Portland – without a Wal-Mart!????We are 4 miles from??freeway and they claim that only 15% of traffic will come from the freeway to get to Walmart -??Even the Planning Comission had to realize that was??garbage…??It is a single lane for a mile to get to the major 5 lane road that connects with Highway 26. ??For three hours over 60 people testified to the Hillsboro Planning Commission as to why this was not a good location for a Wal-mart.?? The city council has already changed the zone to “mixed-use” without any oral testimony allowed by residents.?? This is hardly mixed use. This re-zoning is under appeal with the Land Use Board of Appeals. Wal-Mart got a month delay till February 12, 2003 to respond to the 3 hours of serious concerns – most being traffic.?? I’m sure they plan fully on winning the war and hoped the momentum would die over the next 4 weeks. Best part of the evening was at beginning when the Commission President asked for supporters to approach the mike to speak – not one single person went up – standing room only – There was an entire roll of yellow YES TO WALMART stickers that went un-used at the feet of the team of 7: Architect, traffic guy, arborist, and lawyer. Our urban planning director wants the project – the Mayor wants the project – yet the Planning Commission asked all the right questions and I believe they could understand the problem??- yet they say they do not have the power to boot the project – only to place restrictions to help it fit into this location .”
The Planning Commission will continue the public hearing at its Feb. 12 meeting at 7 p.m. For local contacts in Hillsboro, write to [email protected] For other Oregon stories, search this page by the name of the state.