Retail giant is moving into Tigard and Sherwood

by: TIMES PHOTO: RAY PITZ - Sherwood residents packed the Sherwood City Council chambers Tuesday night to express opposition to the proposed Walmart store.Just a week after Tigard residents took to a town hall meeting trying to stop a proposed Walmart from breaking ground in Tigard in the next few months, residents in Sherwood did the same thing.

The world’s largest retailer announced Monday that not only would it open a Walmart Supercenter in Tigard off 72nd Avenue, it would also break ground on an even larger supercenter on Tualatin-Sherwood Road.

The two stores are expected to open at about the same time — sometime in 2014.

The announcement set off a firestorm of protests from those opposed to the national retailer moving into the Sherwood community.

Crews are expected to break ground on the 145,000-square-foot Sherwood Walmart superstore along Langer Farms Parkway at Tualatin-Sherwood Road around June 24. Walmart officials have said the Sherwood store would create an estimated 250 full- and part-time jobs.

In addition to Walmart, up to 20 other merchants and restaurants will make up the Sherwood Town Center complex.

News of the retailer moving into Sherwood spread quickly and ended months of speculation as to whether the new box store would be a Walmart, Fred Meyer or possible even a Trader Joe’s. Within a day, social media sites opposing the retail giant were up and running.

On Tuesday evening, opponents jammed into Sherwood City Hall Council Chambers to testify during public comments in the largest gathering for a council meeting in years.

Many blamed Matt Langer, a Sherwood city councilor who also owns the land that was sold to Walmart.

Opponents criticized Langer for not giving residents a heads up about who the new anchor would be until this week.

“Walmart is kind of the worst picture of what America is today,” local musician and resident Amanda Stanaway told the council. “It’s really disappointing.”

Opponents didn’t mince words regarding why they were against the retail giant moving in.

Most cited low wages paid by the retailer, the effects the store would have on smaller businesses and concerns that residents had been “sold out” by not being told of plans to build the store in Sherwood as their main concerns. They also said the store would change the small-town feel of the community.

Sherwood resident Trish Goldstein said when her mother-in-law, who was a Walmart employee in Arizona, got cancer, the retailer tried to cut her benefits. According to Goldstein, her mother-in-law was then forced to retire.

Another opponent, Lori Randel, made a promise.

“I’m going to do everything in my power to keep Walmart from coming,” she said.

Resident Wade Anderson even suggested changing the zoning where the new store will be sited — even if it meant facing legal challenges.

“Put in the skate park folks have always wanted,” said Anderson, who is on a committee examining what part of the city should be included in the Metro-mandated town center plan (not to be confused with the Walmart shopping complex that also bears the town center name).

Still, the meeting contained one vocal supporter, Richard Rementeria, who said he was in support of the Langer family, longtime Sherwood residents who have been here since it was a “bump in the road.”

Rementeria said he didn’t think people would have been as upset if the store was a Fred Meyer, “but I think maybe we shouldn’t be so hard on our fellow citizens.”

In the end, residents wanted to know what they could still do to prevent the project from moving forward.

At the end of the meeting, Councilor Langer told those gathered he appreciated their input and that the Walmart planned for the site was different from the company’s other stores. Langer also said his family tried to contact Trader Joe’s but never heard back from the company and that the site was too big for an anchor of that size.

“I really thank Matt for showing up,” said Mayor Bill Middleton. “That took some courage there.”

Councilor Krisanna Clark said like many residents, she too did not want to see Walmart in Sherwood.

“Is there something we can do?” she asked. “I don’t know.”

Councilor Bill Butterfield said the council planned to look at the issue and “come to some kind of resolution.”

Contract Publishing

Go to top
Template by JoomlaShine