Wal-Mart's Public Hearing at the Cottage Grove City Hall in front of hundreds of onlookers was rowdy and controversial to say the least. The meeting which was supposed to last from 7:30-10:30PM was nearly filibustered by an overwhelming testimony of Wal-Mart attorneys who turned the "public hearing" into an overwhelming display of slide shows, projected land use changes and traffic studies that gave the public little-to no-right to speak in opposition. Wal-Mart's pitch for the Superstore is mainly to sell groceries (while expanding its operation to over 150,000 square feet - not to mention the outdoor "uncovered" grounds which are not included in the square foot expansion estimates). They said, "it will bring competition to Cottage Grove." A Wal-Mart Superstore does not just sell groceries, but many, many other items that compete with a majority of local businesses trying to stay alive in our unique community.
- In Circleville, Ohio, population 13,000, the local RCA television-manufacturing plant was once a source of good jobs with good pay and benefits. But in late 2003, RCA's owner, Thomson Consumer Electronics, lost a sizeable portion of its production orders and six months later shut the plant down, throwing 1,000 people out of work: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/walmart/view/
A town like Cottage Grove is filled with locally-owned businesses that cannot compete with the world's largest retailer, Wal-Mart, who imports the majority of its items from China and other overseas companies with great buying power that any local business cannot compete with. We urge you to support your local Cottage Grove businesses by attending the next Public Hearing to be held in approximately two weeks.
The Cottage Grove Planning Commission will take more public comment on Wal-Mart's proposal. Where: City Hall Council Chamber, 400 Main St. When: 7:30 p.m. Jan. 31
More importantly, contact the following City Council members:
Chair: Matt Parsons P.O. Box 232 767-2367(hm) 942-7300(wk) Term expires: 12/31/2009
David McClean (Vice-Chair) 304 Adams Avenue 767-0931(hm) 485-3970(wk) Term expires: 12/31/2008
Savannah Crawford 810 Withycome Avenue 521-8092(hm) 541-957-3639(wk) Term expires: 12/31/2009
George Devine 33631 Cedar Park Place 942-2769(hm) 942-1301(wk) Term expires: 12/31/2007
Mike Fleck 1125 East Harrison 942-7301(hm) 683-4205(wk) Term expires: 12/31/2009
Rudy Severns 32857 Fox Lane 942-0536 (hm) Term Expires: 12/31/2008
Lloyd Williams 1490 Jason Lee Avenue 942-1310 (hm) 682-2679 (wk) Term expires: 12/31/2007
City Manager Richard Meyers 400 Main Street Cottage Grove, Oregon 97424 Phone: (541)942-5501 firstname.lastname@example.org
Community Development Director Howard Schesser 400 Main Street Cottage Grove, Oregon 97424 Phone: (541)942-3340 email@example.com
Don't forget to write to the above City Of Eugene Officials, e-mail or post a comment to the Bulletin Board with you opinions. It is now an important time to decide the future of Cottage Grove.
Thank you - a concerned resident and business owner
[ January 19, 2007, 10:03 AM: Message edited by: no WalMart Superstore ]
My wife and I hope to retire to Cottage Grove within the next few months. We lived there for 9 months a few years ago and never ceased regretting we’d left. Two of the reasons we loved Cottage Grove were the charming downtown and vital local shopping, especially the great grocery stores.
We have recently lived in 2 other towns that got their own WalMart Supercenters. So we have personal experience with the impact of a Supercenter on a small town.
Ignore the lie that a Supercenter “brings competition” to a town, as though that would somehow improve the town. The truth is that a Supercenter eliminates competition.
We knew a lovely supermarket in another town that was a delight to visit, with a deli, fabulous produce, clean floors, and patrons visiting in the aisles. It was a real community center. Although it was the only grocery store in town, it didn’t act like it. Two years later we revisited the town and went back to the store. It was a shell. The deli was gone. The stock had dwindled. The produce was not nearly what it had been. The door we used to prefer was locked, blocked by unused carts. Many products we used to buy, like off-brand potato chips, were gone. The store had literally been shredded by a new Supercenter down the road.
We’ve traveled a lot since we left Cottage Grove. We’ve seen a lot of small towns. We’ve seen a lot of Supercenters, and we’ve noticed that many of the towns that have them have run-down central business districts with empty store fronts. We’ve also recently seen a lively town with great local stores. It had kept out a Supercenter.
If WalMart were in other ways good for the businesses in the US—for example, by buying American and promoting good jobs in strong American industries—it might be arguable that we should let Supercenters shut down small businesses in our towns. But WalMart doesn’t do that. WalMart crushes its suppliers as surely as it crushes the merchants next door. WalMart pulls the dollars out of American communities and ships them to China. Our trade imbalance with China will shortly prove to be devastating to our self-interest and standard of living. WalMart is much to blame. And the Supercenter is its tool.
If you have even begun to believe that we cannot continue to structure our economy on cheap oil, then you also need to begin to believe that we cannot continue to structure our commerce on predatory prices for Chinese goods.
Grassroots efforts created a miracle in the last election. Grassroots efforts can stand up to WalMart as no single small business can.
I encourage you to join me in telling Cottage Grove’s community leaders that you support their courageous stand against a Supercenter. Show the hired PR hacks that dominated the last “public” forum that you don’t buy their contrived arguments, surely scripted in Arkansas. Preserve Cottage Grove from the damage a Supercenter would bring to what is now a truly charming community.
-------------------- John Page Posts: 1 | Registered: Feb 2007
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