Walmart has signed a secret deal with developer Howard Dietrich to build a 150,000 sq ft supercenter, along with 600 enclosed parking spots, at SE Tacoma street and 99E. The lease can only be broken if a city agency decides to buy the property.
Is this an attempt to increase his property value and blackmail the city for somewhere in the neighborhood of 17 million dollars? Or does he really intend to build a Walmart on a site that cannot handle the proposed traffic load? What of the businesses in Milwaukie that will be affected by the opening of a big box right in their neigborhood? What about the neighbors who already suffer through frequent traffic on SE Tacoma street? How will this giant store affect emergency services? None of these questions have been addressed, as the plan was hatched in secret and only leaked out this week.
Well, it's a secret no more. Several hundred people showed up at a Sellwood-Moreland (SMILE) neighborhood meeting last night, and opposition to this development was unanimous. Also attending were members of the Portland City Council.