No Dollar General
Dollar General, a $20-plus billion company with 15,000 stores, submitted an application to Hood River Community Development to put a store in the community of Mt. Hood. Part of its strategy is to put smaller stores, maybe 6,000 square feet, in rural areas where its customer base is within five miles.
Apparently, they want people to do shopping as needed because their average sale is $12 and has five items, and they stay in the store for less than 10 minutes. Buy just what you need, then come back when you need something else.
This would increase traffic, causing risks on Highway 35, unless they get to use the private road behind the lot.
Per their strategy, they are targeting low income people. What does that mean? According to blogs I read, for one period, they averaged a score of one for 1,761 reviews and rudeness is one of the top complaints across the U.S. They pay hundreds of thousands of dollars across the U.S. for OSHA fines for repeatedly blocking exits, aisles and electrical outlets with boxed stock, causing risks to employees right along with customers. A violation tracker showed payments of $22,535,003 in violations since 2000. Apparently with smaller stores, they lack a stock room and not enough room on the shelves for all of the stock, so just let people walk around boxes? Hoping no one falls? Nice culture.
I don’t believe our community is the place for a franchise/big box store. It would be like having a Walmart plopped down in our midst. Hood River already has one, and we don’t need Dollar General because Hood River already has a Dollar Tree.
We don’t need big trees cut down for a big building. We don’t need a big box store to cut prices so that the local stores lose sales. Yes, that’s part of doing commercial business, but local stores are community and Dollar General is a corporation. They will have locals working there, not making business decisions there — corporate will do that. Local businesses make decisions locally often facing the people they impact.
Parking at the Hood River waterfront is getting crazy and expensive. The waterfront is experiencing an explosion of users and special events that creates parking chaos.
Last weekend, I was prevented from using my $70 parking pass as the lots were full or closed for special use by a boating event.
Additionally, if a family wants to use the waterfront, they need to pay for parking. And the machines don’t take coins — only credit cards. What do teenagers do?
I think as a community, we can do better than making the waterfront a pay-for-access situation. The waterfront should be available for free access to everyone.
Additionally, some days (most days), the parking spots are filled to capacity and there’s no place to park at all.
Here’s my suggestion: Open the huge lot across the street from the Event Site and allow free parking for everyone, every day.
If someone wants to pay for premium parking, they are free to buy a pass or feed the meters.
People deserve the right to free access to the riverfront. We can do better as a community.
Rein in Trump threat
I urge our Congressional District 2 Representative Greg Walden to speak out forcefully in Washington to protect us from Trump’s illegal and dangerous private communications with other world leaders. Trump is known to have been making personal calls on this cell phone to various world leaders and giving out his cell phone number to them.
A July 6 story in The Washington Post confirms that “conversations with world leaders are required by federal records law to be routed through the Situation Room.
Such calls are typically heavily prepared for and monitored by the White House; the national security adviser briefs the president, and regional experts provide prepared talking points. The national security adviser then remains by the president’s side throughout the call, and a transcript of the call is distributed to key White House aides, who issue a public readout.”
Mr. Trump’s actions are off-the-cuff, freewheeling, undiplomatic, highly dangerous and illegal. The American public, including Walden’s constituents here, are being endangered by this irresponsible president, and we need our legislators to speak out and rein him in.
I urge Mr. Walden to intervene on behalf of his constituents to protect our personal and national interests.
His oath of office requires this, and for him to continue to shirk his responsibility is unconscionable.
‘Keep in mind’
There are doubtless a number of readers of this paper who, while traveling on I-84, have stopped in the city of Arlington to gas up, get a snack and maybe even spend some time at the marina swimming or boarding off the wide span of the Columbia north of town.
Sadly, I wish to bring to the attention of the readership the fact that the Arlington City Council, in their May 9 meeting, unanimously passed a resolution, number 685, to declare Arlington (quotes are from the text of the resolution) “not a sanctuary city” but rather “a Rule of Law City in regards to upholding immigration laws.”
The pretext for this resolution, which runs contrary to the laws of the state of Oregon, is that Arlington supposedly has suffered a number of burdens due to so-called illegal immigrants, including “decreased job opportunities” as well as fiscal hardships in the areas of “education, law enforcement, healthcare, and other social services”.
While no action has been taken yet by the city council to make the spirit of this resolution an enforceable ordinance, travelers may want to keep this information in mind when deciding whether or not to stop in and patronize the city of Arlington.
Firefighters and pardons
An ironic coincidence highlighted a telling contrast between incumbent Greg Walden and rural Democrat Jamie McLeod-Skinner, who is campaigning to represent us in our 2nd Congressional District. This morning, I received one of Greg Walden’s regular newsletter updates. In the opening paragraph about the current wild fire season, he writes this:
“First and foremost, we must thank the brave men and women putting themselves in harm’s way to protect people, property, and public lands from wildfire. When others are told to evacuate, firefighters stay behind to do their jobs, and they are owed our gratitude.”
I couldn’t agree more.
But his words also brought back to mind an article I recently read about President Trump’s pardon of Dwight and Steven Hammond. Published by OPB on June 30, the article said this:
“The case of Dwight Hammond, 76, and his son Steven, 49 — both convicted of deliberately setting unauthorized rangeland fires — has loomed large in Eastern Oregon … They were charged with setting a 2001 wildfire to cover up what witnesses said was evidence of illegal hunting, as well as several backfires in 2006 to protect a winter feed supply from an out-of-control wildfire. Federal officials said those unauthorized backfires endangered their own firefighters” (emphasize added).
Mr. Walden gave a speech supporting the pardon of the Hammonds. He thought the five-year mandatory sentence was too harsh.
Jamie McLeod-Skinner agrees that federal law, which imposes a five-year mandatory sentence, is too harsh. But here is the contrast with Mr. Walden. In the OPR article, McLeod-Skinner argues for changing the law and leveling the playing field for all. She believes that these pardons hand out favors to those who have connections and bring you votes.
I agree with McLeod-Skinner and call Greg Walden’s lack of leadership to change that mandatory sentence in favor of selective pardons what it is:
Playing politics with the lives of firefighters, ranchers and every rural voter in Eastern Oregon.