Local ‘Stop Dollar General’ group to host town hall

THE PROPOSED Dollar General would be built on this vacant lot across from the Country Store in Mount Hood.

Heather Guichard Odden
THE PROPOSED Dollar General would be built on this vacant lot across from the Country Store in Mount Hood.

A group of upper valley residents aiming to stop Dollar General, a Tennessee-based chain of variety stores, from building a store in Mt. Hood will hold a town hall Aug. 28 as part of their community effort to “Keep Mt. Hood Local.”

“Today they want to build in Mt. Hood, tomorrow it will be your ‘hood,’” the group “Keep it Local: Stop Dollar General” writes on its GoFundMe page. “Our community must fight back through private legal action and public commentary ...” Donations raised through the GoFundMe will go towards legal fees and communication materials, the group stated.

Keep it Local formed after a real estate developer filed a commercial land use permit application (CULP) with Community Development in late July for the construction of a 7,225 square foot Dollar General retail store on an undeveloped lot at 4245 Corner Loop in Mt. Hood-Parkdale.

“We are adjacent property owners and became aware of the previous owner who passed away suddenly, leaving the property in probate,” said the group’s main organizer, Heather Guichard Odden. “We never had the chance to meet him, but we learned Dollar General had approached him about it and he said emphatically, no. He planned to build his forever home on that property … Recent activity on the property such as soil testing and surveying led us to check with Hood River Community Development, where their intentions were confirmed,” she said.

The current property owner, who lives in Virginia, authorized an Arizona-based full-service commercial real estate developer, SimonCRE, to submit the application on her behalf. She also authorized Kansas-based design firm BRR Architecture to act as a consultant.

Community Development is currently reviewing SimonCRE’s application, a process that will likely take between four and six months to complete.

“The negative impact of this cannot be understated,” the group states. “Where Dollar General moves in, communities inevitably lose jobs, choice, charm and money, as all the profits leave the community and a fewer number of low-paying jobs remain.”

Their main concerns with a Dollar General opening up in their neighborhood are that it will threaten local businesses, funnel local money to out-of-state investors, and add two “congested, dangerous intersections” at Cooper Spur Rd. and Highway 35 — since the proposed structure would face east towards Highway 35 with a driveway entrance on Corner Loop.

Keep it Local will host a town hall at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 28 in the gym at the Mt. Hood Town Hall to give community members the chance to voice their opinions and concerns, hear from local businesses, learn about the latest site plan and tour the proposed site.

For more information, visit the group’s Facebook page: Stop Dollar General in Mount Hood-Parkdale.

According to its website, SimonCRE has developed or is developing 43 Dollar General projects nationwide, including two in Oregon: One in Eugene and another in Roseburg. The proposed Mt. Hood-Parkdale project is not yet listed.

The company has also built for Verizon Wireless, PetSmart, O’Reilly Auto Parts and others, with a total of 127 properties developed across 18 states since it was founded in 2010.

Dollar General has more than 14,000 stores across 44 states, primarily in small to mid-size communities in the eastern United States. It currently has about 20 operating locations in Oregon, compared to just five in 2017.

Once completed and operational, the new Dollar General would likely be open Monday through Sunday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. and employ an average of 8-10 employees, SimonCRE stated in the application.

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