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Gresham First - Not Another Wal-Mart update and Rally!

"Gresham First" < greshamfirst@hotmail.com>

and some nice music to go with from FREEWORM in Montreal
This week the City of Gresham facilitated a positive and productive
between residents and developers to review the scope required for the
Wal-Mart traffic study. Fifteen community members met with Kittelson,
Pacland and City staff to address traffic concerns including local
pedestrians on Springwater Trail, neighborhood short-cuts, Fire Station
and the 2-lane bridge south of Safeway. The meeting resulted in an
study scope to address those issues. The City has requested a list of
"hot-spots" from members, due Friday, to include in the final scoping
requirements. Please forward any questions or concerns regarding
issues in your area. The City now estimates 3-4 weeks before the
study is complete and the review period will begin.

Community awareness and resident action is important to our success.
have already gathered over 3,000 signatures to our petition, and expect
equal numbers to contact the Planner directly during the review period.
must also look ahead to the appeal phase, when our land use attorney
will be
critical. Fundraising to continue her service is much needed.

We will hold a rummage sale on April 23, 2005 at West Gresham
from 10a-5p. We seeking new or used saleable items and will arrange
or delivery beginning Saturday, April 16. Please phone 503.756.7206 to
arrangements to donate your items. Preferably, items should be dropped
on Friday, April 22 between 4-9pm at the school. We can use help with
planning and organization of this event, and will need volunteer
on Friday evening and Saturday. Please email if you would like to help
the fundraiser!

NOT ANOTHER WAL-MART RALLY! Saturday, April 16 from 11am - 1pm.

Past street-corner rallies have been very effective at raising public
awareness, gathering signatures to our petition, and selling yard
This weekend we will target the intersection at 182nd & Powell, and
meet in the Shari's parking lot. We are seeking volunteers to come for
least one hour and help picket the site and wave at traffic. T-shirts
now available and will be offered at a discount to rally participants!
own creative campaign signs are also welcome to help attract attention,
as "Save Our Community" "Get Involved" "This Site Not Right" or "No
in the Creek". Please remember to focus on our mission to OPPOSE
THIS SITE. Campaign brochures will be available for public handouts
and so
that volunteers have the correct information to use as talking points.

Thanks are due to each of you who take the time from your busy lives to
attend meetings and events. Gresham First is truly an incredible group
people, and together we can make a difference in our community!


homepage: homepage: http://www.greshamfirst.org
address: address: greshamfirst@hotmail.com

Wal-Mart agrees to residents' calls to widen traffic study 15.Apr.2005 10:48


Wal-Mart agrees to residents' calls to widen traffic study

The company will look at traffic in more areas that could affect neighbors near a planned supercenter

Friday, April 15, 2005

GRESHAM -- After an unusual meeting with neighbors of a proposed Wal-Mart supercenter in Gresham, the company's traffic engineers agreed this week to analyze several more areas than originally planned.

Volunteers from three local neighborhood associations used the meeting to critique the first steps Wal-Mart consultants have taken for a city-required traffic study. Those steps include estimating how many additional cars the supercenter would bring to Southeast 182nd and Powell Boulevard and which intersections those cars would use.

The final traffic study will calculate delays or safety problems caused by the extra traffic and explain how the company plans to resolve them.

Gresham officials proposed the traffic sit-down in January, after hundreds of people attended an emotional neighborhood meeting. Many said they feared their neighborhoods would be paralyzed by supercenter traffic.

Afterward, three area neighborhood associations picked volunteers to meet with city and company officials once the preliminary parts of the traffic study were complete.

"If you don't get this right, you can spend the whole time with the wrong issues," said John Dorst, deputy director of Gresham's Department of Environmental Services.

During Tuesday's meeting, neighbors questioned several parts of the work done by Kittelson & Associates Inc., Wal-Mart's traffic consultant for the project.

In figuring out where Wal-Mart customers would come from, Kittelson took into account the presence of three other Wal-Mart stores -- in Wood Village, at Eastport Plaza in Portland and in Clackamas -- as well as two Fred Meyer stores to the east and west of the Gresham site, said Brian J. Dunn, a senior engineer with Kittelson. Kittelson workers timed drives between those stores and drew boundaries at the halfway mark, reasoning that shoppers choosing between similar stores would pick the shortest trip.

But some neighbors said Kittelson's calculations could underestimate the distance from which a Gresham Wal-Mart will draw customers. They reasoned that Fred Meyer may not siphon off any Wal-Mart customers, so Fred Meyer stores shouldn't be factored into the survey.

Dunn defended Kittelson's use of Fred Meyer, which sells groceries and other household items just as a Wal-Mart supercenter does.

Others said the potential closing of some retail stores may enlarge the Gresham supercenter's draw. Wal-Mart's older Eastport Plaza store is only a few minutes north of a Wal-Mart that opened this week in Clackamas, said Bill Willmes of the Southwest Neighborhood Association. Willmes wondered why Wal-Mart would keep both stores open.

But Wal-Mart plans to keep its Eastport Plaza store, said Matt Oyen of PacLand, another Wal-Mart consultant.

The city's traffic consultant, DKS Associates, already signed off on this part of Kittelson's work, Dunn added.

Many of the neighborhood volunteers wanted Kittelson to examine additional intersections and streets. Some don't have existing signals, they said. Some have different rush hours or different safety issues because of bridges or schools nearby. One is near a fire station.

Greg Hathaway, a lawyer who represents Wal-Mart in Oregon, supported including the extra areas. He said the company benefits from neighbors' agreement on "what legitimately needs to be studied. "

If a disputed area isn't included, "Somebody at this table is going to raise it at the (appeals) hearing, and that will raise a question in the hearing officer's mind," Hathaway said at Tuesday's meeting.

Although some of Wal-Mart's Oregon stores have opened with little opposition, projects in places such as Hood River, Hillsboro and Oregon City failed after years of land-use appeals.

In Gresham, a group called GreshamFirst has organized against a supercenter at the Powell Boulevard site. GreshamFirst has hired its own traffic engineer, Rick Nys of Greenlight Engineering in Tualatin, who attended Tuesday's meeting.

Wal-Mart plans to build a 142,791-square-foot discount store with a 42,631-square-foot grocery, a garden center and parking for 878 to 893 cars, most on two levels below the store. The development may include three smaller retail buildings.

Kittelson estimated that the project will generate 290 new trips during weekday morning peak hours, 635 new trips during weekday afternoon peaks and 1,010 new trips during Saturday peaks.

Catherine Trevison: 503-294-5971;  ctrevison@news.oregonian.com