Sprawl-Busters Newsflash Blog - Anti-Sprawl news since 1998.
Subscribe to Sprawl-Busters Blog Follow Sprawl Busters on Twitter
Occupy Walmart & Order Al's Books Movies Newsflash! The Case Against Sprawl Home Towns Not Home Depot Victories Your Battles About Us Contact Us  

recent news

List articles
by the month:

2018
JAN FEB MAR
APR MAY JUN
JUL AUG SEP
OCT NOV DEC

2017
JAN FEB MAR
APR MAY JUN
JUL AUG SEP
OCT NOV DEC

2016
JAN FEB MAR
APR MAY JUN
JUL AUG SEP
OCT NOV DEC

2015
JAN FEB MAR
APR MAY JUN
JUL AUG SEP
OCT NOV DEC

2014
JAN FEB MAR
APR MAY JUN
JUL AUG SEP
OCT NOV DEC

2013
JAN FEB MAR
APR MAY JUN
JUL AUG SEP
OCT NOV DEC

2012
JAN FEB MAR
APR MAY JUN
JUL AUG SEP
OCT NOV DEC

2011
JAN FEB MAR
APR MAY JUN
JUL AUG SEP
OCT NOV DEC

2010
JAN FEB MAR
APR MAY JUN
JUL AUG SEP
OCT NOV DEC

2009
JAN FEB MAR
APR MAY JUN
JUL AUG SEP
OCT NOV DEC

2008
JAN FEB MAR
APR MAY JUN
JUL AUG SEP
OCT NOV DEC

2007
JAN FEB MAR
APR MAY JUN
JUL AUG SEP
OCT NOV DEC

2006
JAN FEB MAR
APR MAY JUN
JUL AUG SEP
OCT NOV DEC

2005
JAN FEB MAR
APR MAY JUN
JUL AUG SEP
OCT NOV DEC

2004
JAN FEB MAR
APR MAY JUN
JUL AUG SEP
OCT NOV DEC

2003
JAN FEB MAR
APR MAY JUN
JUL AUG SEP
OCT NOV DEC

2002
JAN FEB MAR
APR MAY JUN
JUL AUG SEP
OCT NOV DEC

2001
JAN FEB MAR
APR MAY JUN
JUL AUG SEP
OCT NOV DEC

2000
JAN FEB MAR
APR MAY JUN
JUL AUG SEP
OCT NOV DEC

1999
JAN FEB MAR
APR MAY JUN
JUL AUG SEP
OCT NOV DEC

1998
JAN FEB MAR
APR MAY JUN
JUL AUG SEP
OCT NOV DEC


Search database by text:

2009-12-13
Albany, OR. Canadian Developer Crosses Into Oregon With First Wal-Mart Superstore

As if we don't have enough American developers pitching superfluous big box stores, now a Canadian Developer has crossed the line to add more sprawl to the state of Oregon. A prolific Wal-Mart developer based in Canada has informed the local media in Albany, Oregon that they are submitting plans to build a 187,000 s.f. Wal-Mart on 25 acres of land in the city of Albany, Oregon. Albany had a 2008 population of just over 48,000 people. Albany also has a Wal-Mart superstore 13 miles to its southeast in Lebanon, Oregon, and two more Wal-Marts within 20 miles in Salem, Oregon. There is also a Target on 14th Avenue in Albany, and a Fred Meyer on Santiam Highway. The Wal-Mart site is also just down the road from a Home Depot. The Canadian developer, Smart Centres, which has run into a WAL of controversy in many of its Canadian sprawl projects, was so excited to have "landed" Wal-Mart as tenant, that a spokesman for the developer in Toronto called the Albany Democrat-Herald within hours of learning the news. "We don't have a construction plan timeline," the SmartCentres spokesman said, "but now that we have an anchor tenant, we can start looking for other tenants." About a year ago, in November of 2008, the Albany City Council approved the Smart Centres mall, without any tenants specified in the plan No one from Wal-Mart was willing to go on record with the Democrat-Herald. According to the developer, finding tenants in this economy has been slow, leaving the project somewhat behind in schedule. Smart Centres claims to be "Canada's largest developer and operator of unenclosed shopping centres." "Our most significant relationship," Smart Centres says, "is with Wal-Mart in Canada as their joint venture partner. We have contributed to their rapid expansion in Canada by developing and opening over 70 stores, including their first store in Canada in Barrie, Ontario (1994)." The company's website proudly features a quote from Rob Walton, the Chairman of the Wal-Mart Board of Directors. "In Canada we have largely used Smart Centres because of their ability to perform for us. We've just been really, really impressed with the level of commitment, integrity and energy," Walton is quoted as saying. But not everyone in Albany is impressed with Wal-Mart. One neighbor to the Albany site writes to Sprawl-Busters, "Wal-Mart has a super store down the road in Lebanon, Oregon. There's old store which is less than half a mile down the road which is vacant, and laid waste with weeds and kids parking there at night for the local hang out. It doesn't bother me that Wal-Mart is in Lebanon but a developer of over 50+ Shopping centers for Wal-Mart is planning on building a "higher-end" center with a Super Wal-Mart as its main attraction. It would sit right off Hwy 20 and Gold Fish Farm Road, which is down the road from my house. It would sit directly across the street from Coastal Farms supply store. I and many others in the community are against Wal-Mart being a part of our community. It is still sitting at the city council currently."

What you can do: The state of Oregon used to rank highly as a 'smart growth' state. But despite its progressive land use reputation, the state is now being overrun with big box stores -- in this case promoted by developers that use the term "smart growth" to propose land-consumptive, automobile dependent projects. Wal-Mart has been defeated in a number of Oregon communities, but the company now has 30 stores in Oregon, including 16 supercenters and 14 discount stores. Ten years ago, there were no Wal-Mart supercenters in Oregon, and 23 discount stores. Efforts by Wal-Mart to shut down existing discount stores in communities like Hood River, Oregon, and build a bigger superstore nearby, have been rejected. In other towns, like Lebanon, Oregon, the Wal-Mart superstore is located within the shadow of the older store. The superstore in Lebanon has been unable to date to find retailers to fill up two lots in its new mall development. Ironically, Albany was recently selected by the Governor of Oregon to participate in the "Main Street" program -- whose values are diametrically opposed to the huge, suburban sprawl format of a Wal-Mart supercenter. According to a press release from the Governor's office, the Main Street program "emphasizes community organization, design, promotion, and economic restructuring to create healthy downtown commercial districts. This approach advocates a return to community self-reliance, empowerment, and the rebuilding of commercial districts based on traditional assets, unique architecture, personal service, local ownership, and sense of community." Readers are urged to email Albany Mayor Sharon Konopa at http://www.cityofalbany.net/council/index-2009.php with the following message: "Dear Mayor Konopa, I'm not sure which Mayor I am writing to: the Mayor that welcomed Smart Centres and their Wal-Mart big box proposal -- or the Mayor who said last year in her city address, "The City can seek new ways to look out-of-the-box for creative solutions that could help save money and resources... We can buy local: Supporting our Albany business community helps the whole community and is a critical contribution that all citizens can make in these hard times." On the one hand, Albany is excited about its "Performing Main Street" designation, but on the other, the city is embracing huge, sprawling boxes that work against community self-reliance, rebuilding commercial districts, and shopping locally. You talk about the "special Oregon character" of Albany -- but then you approve out-of -- scale projects that destroy that very character. Now that Smart Centres has accounced its intention to use Wal-Mart as its anchor store, it's time for the city to tell Smart Centres that a 187,000 s.f. store is not 'smart growth,' and their proposal needs to fit into the special character of Albany, and the spirit of the Main Street program. At this point, voters in Albany have every right to be confused by the contradictory messages that leaders in their city are espousing."










 
 
"Norman has become the guru of the anti-Wal-Mart movement" ~ 60 Minutes

info@sprawl-busters.com
Strategic Planning ~ Field Operations
Voter Campaigns 
21 Grinnell St, Greenfield ~ MA 01301
(413) 772-6289