NE & SE Portland Neighborhood Coalitions to Protest Proposed ‘Big Box Store’
Neighbors are gearing up to protest a proposed big box development which is slated for NE Portland right across from Madison High School. Rally this coming Saturday Feb 17 from 10am-12pm at Glenhaven Park (next to Madison HS on NE 82nd and Siskiyou)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 14, 2007
Contacts: Dawn Tryon, phone: 503-539-3954
Frank Walsh, phone: 503-975-9274
Co-Chairs, Save Madison South Committee
NE & SE Portland Neighborhood Coalitions to Protest Proposed 'Big Box Store' in Residential Area
(Portland, OR) - Residents in Madison South and Roseway neighborhoods in NE Portland, and Montavilla Neighborhood in SE Portland are now mobilizing to fight a proposed "big box store" development that could be Portland's newest Wal-Mart SuperStore. The site is located on the now-vacant land across from Madison High School on NE 82nd.
Citing concerns about the proposed rezoning and development of 240,000 square feet of retail space and traffic impact of over 900 parking spots, Save Madison South committee co-chairs Frank Walsh and Dawn Tryon are mobilizing several hundred of their fellow neighbors for a Permit Protest Rally taking place on Saturday, February 17, 2007 from 10am-12pm at Glenhaven Park, located at NE 82nd and Siskiyou. Neighborhood leaders will be addressing the rally attendees and media at 11am.
Hundreds of neighbors are expected to turn out to show their support for keeping Madison South and Roseway's parks, clean streets, quiet neighborhoods and nearby small business districts part of the area's character and livability.
Next steps for the Save Madison South and Save Roseway Committees include consulting with legal advisors, and traffic and environmental experts as part of preparing for the hearing process.
Canadian-based developer, SmartCentres, gave a presentation at the September 2006 Madison South neighborhood association meeting. SmartCentre's website (www.smartcentres.com) proudly touts their strong relationship with Wal-Mart, with approximately 120 out of their 180 projects ending up being a Wal-Mart, but not have yet identified a tenant for the proposed development in NE Portland.
Neighbors quickly came together to address resident's fears of rezoning, congestion including cut-through traffic, loss of property values, light pollution and late-night delivery noise. Crosswalk and safety issues are also tops on the list, with nearby Portland Public Schools (Madison, Gregory Heights and Jason Lee) undoubtedly impacted by increased traffic volume. Residents also are concerned about environmental issues from the former landfill to include storm-water runoff and methane emissions. To date, SmartCentres has been increasingly unwilling to work with the neighborhood, including refusing to participate in a Quick Response study, which would allow independent evaluation of traffic data that could influence the outcome of the development proposal.
Additionally, a telephone survey of the neighborhood right before the holidays asked residents a battery of leading questions. The final question asked what neighbors thought about a Wal-Mart being built in their neighborhood. This survey inflamed the situation further, which put neighborhood leaders even on more edge about the lack of forthright information coming from the developer, who has yet to publicly identify an anchor tenant.
A former gravel pit, the land parcel was used as a garbage dump then became a golf driving range, which closed about five years ago. Each of these uses has caused nearby residents problems through the years.
During the February 1, 2007 Madison South neighborhood meeting, residents met to discuss possible alternatives for the site, with an overwhelming majority of those in attendance indicating that they saw this land as a lynchpin development for the neighborhood. Many suggestions were provided, which added strength to the movement trying to be part of the solution for this land use puzzle, rather than be part of the problem. As a side note, as door-to-door action team volunteers have been canvassing the neighborhood to create awareness, 95% of residents indicated that they were completely opposed to the project, but not opposed to developing the site within the current zoning of 60,000 square feet. The most popular alternative offered by residents? Bring on New Seasons Market!
The Save Madison South and Save Roseway Committees, made up of residents who are volunteering their time, were born in early November. The result has been a blazing door-to-door campaign that has been alerting neighbors about the possible development and the timelines. Yards signs have been snapped up so quickly by residents eager to show their support for a livable neighborhood, that hundreds more were ordered. To date, close to 700 households have signed an action list roster committing to oppose the development.
For more information and related documents, please visit www.savemadisonsouth.org, which has background materials loaded on the site for review.
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