Wednesday, October 31, 2001/lk
The purpose of my letter is to urge the Hood River County Commissioners to adopt a footprint ordinance similar to the 50,000-foot limit on retail outlets that the City of Hood River recently passed. As a resident of Hood River County, I am concerned about the negative impact of a Wal-Mart mega store on our local economy.
To be sure, a Wal-Mart mega store will be detrimental to the small, locally owned businesses that are vital to our economy. I believe that it is more important to sustain the vitality of our local small scale shopping districts than to enrich Wal-Mart Corporation and its stockholders.
How can a gigantic 185,000-foot retail space (bigger than four football fields) be appropriate for a town of 6,000 people? While growth is an essential part of our economy, haphazard growth such as this mega store has long-term consequences that will ultimately erode our quality of life, which in itself, is a valuable resource of Hood River County.
Obviously Wal-Mart's intentions are to attract shoppers from surrounding areas. Will these shoppers be patronizing other stores in Hood River once they're here? I doubt it, since this mega-store will most likely offer everything they could want in a one-stop shopping experience.
A Wal-Mart mega store will also degrade the visual and aesthetic character of our community. We'll have a gigantic box-like structure with a sea of asphalt greeting folks who visit Hood River to complement the abandoned smaller (but just as ugly) box-like structure just blocks away.