National megastores scouting the Portland region for sites search out one common ingredient: people, and lots of them.
That's why large retailers want to locate near centers designed for urban living: Portland neighborhood hubs and suburban downtowns.
But many elected officials worry that large stores will spell death for the centers, which have developed with millions of dollars in local government investment.
They want more authority to turn away the so-called big-box stores. Short of that, they want a strategy to help their own live-and-shop districts compete. Both will be considered this fall at Metro, the regional government.
You want to "compete?" Try the free market you idiots. Oh that's right, everything government does fails miserably when forced to compete on a level playing field.
Politicians from Hillsboro to Gresham foot the bill for plans and land to carry out an urban revival theory that plays well in earthy do-it-yourself Oregon. They envision shoppers with coffee in hand combing farmers markets and popping into friends' condos down the block. Metro has designated about 40 such places as "centers," each with its own personality.
This story mirrors my post from yesterday. Our "planners" at metro and local government would like to change our behavior and culture. They don't care if you want to save some time and money at Wal-Mart, they want you to sip a latte and pop into your friends condo downt he block.
What makes government think that it's their job to do this kind of social engineering? Especially when they can't do their first mandate which is public safety. This really seems communist to me that government makes decisions on who gets what, when, and for how much depending on our elite leaders "vision" for our community.
In Gresham, where a decade of planning and subsidies fueled development along MAX light-rail lines, city officials are poised to reject a Wal-Mart Supercenter.
They want to reject Wal-Mart because it would interfere with what the government has done, against taxpayer wishes I might add, to the area. And really, I don't see the Gresham city planners sitting at the Rockwood MAX station at 10:00pm sipping their coffees. Wonder why that is?
And it's no doubt that the Fishwrapper always takes the side of government. Here's something interesting. A man named "Bernard" is quoted in this story multiple times but we never find out who he is:
"All of us have to do things to make ourselves unique," he says. "But we don't need to bring in more competition."
"Bernard" who may in fact be a made up character, doesn't understand capitalism very well.
Local governments generally hang their denials on land-use zoning and traffic. Current laws don't allow them to consider competing business districts.
GreshamFirst, a group opposing the city's proposed Wal-Mart Supercenter, is nudging the Gresham City Council to look at the issue. During a recent council meeting, members spelled out their fears. Among them: Big-box stores could hurt existing businesses and jobs.
So local governments violate the spirit of the law by turning away business for a false reason. This is like an employer not hiring someone because they are black but saying it is because the position is filled. Wal-Mart faces the same kind of discrimination from Metro and local governments.
Feel free to write to your Metro councilor with your feelings on this post and my previous post.
Email I received from my (really hardworking) Metro Councilor:
Thank you for your e-mail. I will be out of the office until Sept. 6. If you need a response before then, please contact my assistant LinneaNelson at 503-797-1886 or firstname.lastname@example.org.You may also call the Metro Council office at 503-797-1540.
Metro Councilor, District 3(503) 797-1549