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Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Hey hey, ho ho, we don't want your Home De-pot

If you oppose the concept of a Home Depot or other big-box retail bomb on the east end of the Burnside Bridge, here's a place where you can go to join like-minded folk taking action.

While you're at it, tell the PDC to come up with a new idea for housing besides condo towers. Even the groovy "third option" for the site has one or two of those. Ah heck, don't get me started, it's Christmas.

Comments (21)

For whatever it's worth, I believe only one of the buildings in the Beam proposal has condos. The other housing elements are live/work, artist incubator, and affordable/low-income units.

There's always low-income housing in the drawings. I think there were a couple of bunk beds for homeless people on the first sketches of the aerial tram. The final product may vary.

As much as I love to hate and hate to love Home Depot, this is about as welcome as a Wal-Mart. Thanks for paying attention.

Jill: This is worse than a Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart does your shopping for you, and sells *everything*. Nobody in the city needs what Home Depot is selling. There are more than enough within a reasonable drive.
Shit, gimme a mall in the same space and I'd be happier. More jobs, more diversity.

There are already enough Home Depot's in town... Do they really think the home improvement market is really big in Downtown and around Lloyd Center?

Why don't Walmart, Home Depot, Target, Office Depot, Cingular, Blockbuster and AOL Time Warner all just merge together, build a Death Star, vaporize the White House, and finally just plunge us in to the corporate bureaucracy, neo-fuedalism that we are all waiting for?

If I don't want to send the spam email, but rather write my own, where do I get the email and snail mail addresses for Mr. Potter and Mr. Adams?

Thanks in advance for the help.

You guys sound so snobby. Nobody needs what Home Depot is selling? I can't imagine most homeowners not needing some of it or a good bit of it. I think that particular site is a bad choice if only owing to the Eastbank Esplanade. Too bad to ruin that junction. But the current Home Depots appear to be pretty far out. There could well be spots closer in, though, that would serve a lot of people (that nobody here appears to know) and that would not use quite such a near-prime, near-downtown spot.

And I doubt it's retail stores that threaten some government takeover "death star," though it might well be in larger part the now mostly-deregulated FIRE (finance, insurance, real estate) industrial complex.

I don't have a car anymore, yet I can reach the Mall 205 Home Depot in 15 minutes on the #15 bus.
We in Buckman are most concered with the probable loss of our small businesses in the Industrial Area. There is a thriving "village" of small businesses in the inner SE Industrial Area, including: Wink's Hardware and Pratt & Larson Tile for example. We support our small, local businesses and they support our community.
We don't want to see some ginat "hardware/home improvement" store come in and force our smaller businesses to close (which is what happens in about 95% of the cases). Did you know that 70 cents of every dollar spent in a Home Depot goes back to HD headquarters in Atlanta?? We want our small businesses that provide living wage jobs and spend most of their profits locally.
Thanks, Jack, for sharing this.

"There's always low-income housing in the drawings. I think there were a couple of bunk beds for homeless people on the first sketches of the aerial tram. The final product may vary."

So true... so true...

Wasn't it Yogi Berra who said, "Nobody goes to that restaurant anymore. It's too busy."

Everyone hates shopping at these big box retailers. They much prefer the small, owner-operated stores. That's why everytime a small mom-and-pop store opens up, it drives the big-boxes in the neighborhood out of business.

Isn't democracy wonderful? People get what they want. Now we just have to force them to want what we want them to want.

It is going to be interesting to watch this one. I am personally opposed to a Home Depot at that location for several reasons, with the main one being the impact on the living wage jobs that are currently offered by the broad array of home improvement related small businesses currently in the central eastside. Poor Winks Hardware is already a refugee from the gentrification of the Pearl and now they could well be chased out of their current location. When I interviewed Don Mazzioti on this topic several months ago, he assured me that "no taxpayer dollars" would be used to subsidize any big box operation in the Central Eastside. I'm not sure I buy that... might be semantics. City Hall acknowledges that small business is the backbone of our local economy, the question is, will they practice what they preach? The Central Eastside Industrial Council is debating this issue heavily and that organization is a good resource for anyone to become more informed.

Here in Erik's office we've received 250 emails in the last two days. It's an impressive effort.

Based on requests from Council, PDC has delayed its decision until February. We're also working on setting up a conversation between PDC and the new City Council on PDC's decision-making process, using this situation as a test case. I'm hoping that happens early next year, but at the moment scheduling is a little slow.

In general, I think there is a lot to be said for nurturing the sense of ownership that people feel for their city and its small businesses. There seems to be widespread support for doing something good on the bridgehead. There is a lot of public support for the Beam proposal. I think the more we can focus on the details of what the market will support and what people want to see in that part of town, the more successful the project will be.

As proposed, I believe that the big box component would subsidize the other pieces--in the two proposals that include big box retail. Each of the proposals, however, requires some measure of subsidy, whether it's free land, tax credits, etc. I was told that the actual detailed negotiations on specific subsidy levels traditionally happen after a developer is selected, based on PDC's general evaluation of their proposal, financial capacity, etc.

Jack R. is certainly right that lots of people shop at big box spots, and I appreciate any chance to contemplate the wisdom of Yogi Berra, but I think this decision isn't about whether the city will have big box retail as it is about its location and urban design.

What's happening in the Central Eastside right now is pretty amazing stuff, and for the most part it's happening by virtue of the marketplace, along with some creative zoning that the CEIC itself has developed. The industrial sanctuary overlay keeps the area working for traditional freight-oriented businesses, while enough flexibility has been allowed to cultivate incubator space for small businesses.

The CEIC is working on a number of levels. I'm not sure that Yogi Berra said "If it ain't broke, don't fix it," but that's another good maxim to keep in mind.

Have you ever carried some drywall or 2 x 4s on the bus? Bus access to a Home Depot is irrelevant.

As to wages, if you support living wages, I'm sorry but you probably support the big corporations. What makes you think small, local retailers have better pay and benefits than large corporations? I had this argument over the Division Starbucks -- all those Red and Black folks talking about local business and living wages, until it was pointed out that Starbucks pays far more than Red and Black and gives full benefits to part time (20 hours + employees).

I may be wrong about home Depot, but unless you know about their wage and benefit structure, don't lump everyone into the same WalMart box.

Gawd, like this town needs another Home Depot.

To A User;

That wasn't a hypothetical situation, for I have actually carried things from Home Depot on the bus. There is plenty of statistical evidence available showing that small businesses nearby go under within a year of the arrival of a big box store. AND that these giant corporations do not usually pay their employees a living wage and generally keep their hours low to avoid providing health benefits.

I've shopped at Winks for about 16 years, and I haven't noticed very much turnover in staff. It says something positive about the employer when employees stay with their jobs for many many years. Winks (for example) must be doing something right!

Jack Bog said: "There's always low-income housing in the drawings. I think there were a couple of bunk beds for homeless people on the first sketches of the aerial tram. The final product may vary."

Well, in the Beam case, they already have letters of interest from groups to handle the affordable housing component and the artists component, so these elements aren't just amorphous promises.

Rich Rodgers said: "As proposed, I believe that the big box component would subsidize the other pieces--in the two proposals that include big box retail."

I don't believe this is true. In the Home Depot proposal, for instance, big box retail was described as a financial neutral if not a financial negative. That doesn't sound like it would be subsidizing anything.

Just another thought. If the east end of the Burnside bridge is such an ideal location for a big box operation, why do the Home Depots of the world have to be enticed with subsidies or sweetheart deals to locate there? Wouldn't they be banging on the door with a fist full of dollars asking to buy the property? They don't have any qualms about buying up land in the outer areas, and I don't think they're getting subsidies out there. I think it's just a matter of PDC needing them to "anchor" the development so they can continue their quest of changing Portland into Prague on the Willamette. I swear, I think those PDC folks and city planners spent way too much time playing "sim city".

I wish our illustrious new mayor would CLEAN HOUSE over at the PDC.

I asked whether large corporations pay worse than small locally owned businesses, or whether small businesses pay better wages and have better benefits than large corporations.

I have not seen evidence that large corporations (other than WalMart and grocery stores) hold down hours to avoid benefits. I have seen studies asserting just the opposite w.r.t. Costco, Lowes, and HomeDepot.

Good for you, using the bus to get to Home Depot. I still say you can't carry drywall or 2x4's on the bus.

Fact is, if we just got rid of the "industrial protection zone" on the east side and relaxed PDC control, the east side would blossom as expensive Pearl District type lofts. It's just that many don't want to admit that this is the direction downtown is going.

Bix's sharp eye is in full effect.

After I posted my comment about Home Depot subsidizing the rest of the development, I noticed in Edlen's response that the Home Depot component is being described as revenue neutral, in terms of the rest of the project.

My assertion that Home Depot would subsidize the rest of the development came from a conversation I had with a PDC project manager late last spring. I had asked why big box was being considered at all, and was told that it was necessary to make the rest of the project work, because of the revenue.

Bruce Wood from Opus claims that the anchor tenant is needed in order to get the necessary financing. This is different than subsidy, but it's also different than what I was originally told.

If big box retail is revenue neutral, which appears to be the case, then, to me, that's one more reason not to move in that direction.

It was my understanding that decision-makers want the parking for the retail and housing uses to be structured parking, which is very expensive. The reasoning I heard that big box is necessary is that they need a use that can afford to pay for the parking structure. The artist incubator and the affordable housing aren't going to pay for structured parking, that's for sure.


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» Onward Portland, Beyond The Big Box from The One True b!X's PORTLAND COMMUNIQUE
It came in via email earlier today, and rapidly began making the rounds of the local blogs as the day progressed. Onward Oregon has laun... [Read More]


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