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Letters - July 28, 2011 - On Walmart

Letter sends the wrong message about LO

To the Editor:

I've lived in Lake Oswego for 46 years, and Elena King's letter of July 21 opposing the proposed Walmart stores in Lake Oswego and West Linn only perpetuates the continuing elitist reputations that both communities face, and insults the neighboring communities as well by portraying them as criminals that will be drawn to our towns to 'save a nickel.' In case Ms King is unaware, unemployment does exist in Lake Oswego and West Linn.

I work at a local financial institution, and come into contact daily with people who have been long-time and well-paid employees, only to be downsized or let go from their jobs.  Many of these people express their frustration at the lack of employment opportunities available, and would jump at the chance to take a job at minimum wage.  

We want to have a choice where to shop for our families, and to do so economically.  Forgive us for not wanting to shop the 'high-end' stores, and please do not tell us what will or will not 'appeal' to us.  We'll shop where we want to shop, and Ms King is free to do the same.

Nancy Czarnecki

Lake Oswego

Letter about Walmart made me feel ashamed

To the Editor:

Because of Elena King, I am ashamed to live in Lake Oswego.

There is nothing that I hate more than being judged, oftentimes incorrectly, because I grew up and still live in this predominantly white, affluent community. The fact that Ms. King chooses to define said 'community' as nothing more than a bunch of well-educated people who look down on people from neighboring cities is, frankly, disgusting.

Though I am fundamentally against the practices of Walmart, I feel that Ms King is not so much arguing against the institution itself, but rather, the people the business will attract. People whose wallets are not as fat as yours may be attracted to our town. Let us pray that they exit quickly and leave us in one piece.

Apparently, according to the arguments Ms King has crafted, there are no citizens out of work in Lake Oswego (this point, of course, also excludes anyone from out-of-town working at the soon-to-be supermarkets). I'm not sure if you're aware, ma'am, but times are tough. Perhaps not for you, but certainly for many, and maybe they would be satisifed working for minimum wage. I also appreciate your stab at those who have attended or are attending online schools. Did you know that sometimes people lack the time or means to complete traditional courses? Is this news to you? It seems that it is your research (or should I say, 'rash, inappropriate judgments?') that is faulty.

I don't know who elected you to speak for the city as a whole, but you certainly do not have my vote, nor my respect.

Alyssa Spiering

Portland

Letter 'elitist, disgusting and offensive'

To the Editor:

I was particularly appalled and offended by Elena King's screed about how Walmart isn't welcome here. It epitomizes the elitist mindset of some of our neighbors and how they seem to think they are so much better than the rest of the world.

I am reminded of my wife's experience walking our dogs in the morning and frequently being icily ignored when greeting another dog-walker who lives in a bigger house. After 34 years of living here I must confess I am not surprised by Ms. King's sentiments, although I hope it is a minority view. Nevertheless, her attitude is elitist, disgusting and offensive to me.

Lake Oswego is a wonderful, beautiful place with lots of great people. While there are many of us who have a great deal of money, most of us are pretty normal people. We think Palisades is a great place to buy our food, but most us don't look down our noses at Albertson's or Safeway or the nice people who work there, even though they are neither local nor 'up-scale.' In short, we don't think we're better than them.

Walmart is perhaps the most successful corporation in the United States because it provides good products at good value and stands behind them. Why should anyone be offended that they have decided to open a store here? As for our citizens buying 'up-scale,' why are there are so many empty retail and restaurant spaces that the hoity-toity didn't support? I suspect it's because they were shopping in downtown Portland, at Bridgeport or at Washington Square.

James A. Kronenberg

Lake Oswego

'Walmart is EXACTLY what (WE) need'

To the Editor:

After learning that Walmart was planning to open a store in Lake Oswego I knew it wouldn't be long before the opposition letters would start pouring in. The letter from Elena King (Lake Oswego Review, July 21) prompted me to write to this paper for the first time in the 22 years I have lived here.

I fail to see how Walmart will destroy our sense of community, and introduce crime to our city. Apparently, Ms. King feels that the good citizens of Tigard, Tualatin, Beaverton, Sherwood and Wilsonville, will infiltrate our town with their criminal element. This is so far from the truth that it is embarrassing. With such a narrow mind-set, I imagine that Ms. King would be petrified to set foot in one of those communities.

She states that residents of Lake Oswego and West Linn 'enjoy shopping in high-end stores,' which of course have high-end prices. But then the well-educated residents, with their 'at least a bachelor's degree,' have no problem paying higher prices. I, for one, avoid the boutiques around town, and welcome the 'affordable convenience' that Walmart will offer. I'm sure there are some folks in Lake Oswego who maybe are not as affluent as Ms. King appears to be, who would love to be able to have a local store where they can purchase less-expensive groceries, and clothes that are geared to us common folks. But then I can always take my BA degree and do my shopping in Tigard or Tualatin.

It would be great to have a business finally move into a building that has sat empty for several years … and bring much- needed tax dollars to our town. Walmart is EXACTLY what this community needs. If you don't like Walmart, don't shop there.

Jim Blume

Lake Oswego

Walmart is within this student's budget

To the Editor:

I honestly had to take a second look when I read Mrs. King's opinion about Walmart stores opening in Lake Oswego and West Linn. Not only did she manage to fulfill the stereotype most would associate with Lake Oswegans - that being pretentious and narrow minded - but also made harsh assumptions about Walmart's customers and employees. For those reasons, I couldn't help but write in opposition.

While not a frequent Walmart shopper, I was still shocked at the havoc Mrs. King assumes the institution could wreak. More accurately it is opinions like this that damage a sense of community by assuming that all Lake Oswego's citizens are too good to save a few bucks. Not only do attitudes like this damage a community but further alienate our town from others.

Perhaps the 'marketing research' that Mrs. King referred to showed that Lake Oswego isn't immune from the recession, no matter how quiet those affected remain. After all, maybe the fact that Lake Oswego School District is shutting down three schools is an indicator that for whatever reason we still can't get money to grow off trees.

As for the job creation component I do believe Mrs. King is right. I don't know many people with bachelor's degrees working at Walmart. I can say, with complete confidence as I just graduated from Lake Oswego High School this spring, that there are plenty of high school students desperate to find work.

I'm not sure what Mrs. King's experiences at Walmart have been like (or if she's had any at all) but I can understand her concerns. First step Walmart, next step littering, grand theft auto and crystal meth. I know Walmart is definitely a criminal hangout. And could you imagine people from Wilsonville coming to Lake Oswego? Surely we can only tolerate shopping for groceries among our own kind. As an incoming college student already staring down a mountain of debt, I would much rather save $2 on my toothpaste by going to Walmart than save face. And if all else fails perhaps I'll simply attend an Online Business School and do crummy 'marketing research.'

Samantha Saldivar

Portland

'Not-In-My-Backyard' strikes quickly

To the Editor:

Well, now, it didn't take long for the first of the Not-In-My-Back-Yarders to crawl out of its mahogany woodwork to oppose proposed Walmart stores in Lake Grove and West Linn.

I've been in Walmart only once in my lifetime; didn't like it and have no desire to visit another of Sam's stores.

But there is a process for establishing business in any community. And hopefully - even with the rantings of the Lake Oswego effete corps of impudent snob - decisions to allow or disallow such establishments will be based on facts and verifiable evidence, not on what some group or person surmises and purports to be the voice of the entire community. Just the facts, Ma'am, just the facts!

Rick Newton

Lake Grove

Walmart: Big price to pay for low prices

To the Editor:

Remember when almost everything we used in the U.S. was manufactured or grown right here, with jobs aplenty? But wait! Outsourcing reduced labor costs and (there were) no pesky safety regulations.

Consumers delighted in cheap clothing, tools and toys. Then, a large retail outfit decided to make even more profit - advertising that their prices were lowest. When their buyers negotiated with wholesalers, they unbendingly dictated what they would pay - which drove local companies out of business.

OK, the consumer got the lowest price. Maybe 50 cents less for a tape measure or a lead-painted yo-yo. So what if gradually every factory and mom-and-pop store went under, as long as folks could go to the big 'W' store and get plenty of cheap stuff. As more factories and local stores shut down, we watched unemployment skyrocket.

Wall Street and big banks were blamed for the fallen economy, and they played a part. But the biggest cause for the decline in American manufacturing and jobs was the cutthroat dealings of the company which proposes to build their stores in West Linn and Lake Oswego. Do we seriously want to see the company responsible for the worst recession in 100 years bring their business model to our community?

Leadership out of this economic crisis should not come only from our political and business leaders, but from everyday people like us. We have the opportunity and honor to support our local businesses, thus creating jobs.

Many brave people are working hard to turn back to manufacturing and growing products locally.

Low prices?

What about the price paid by our unemployment rate, the environmental cost, the cost to human rights? Let's stop being so shortsighted. Say no to that big store. Say yes to a robust, sustainable future for our community.

Sharon Bonesteel

West Linn

Letter 'is wrong on so many levels'

To the Editor:

'Her letter must be a joke,' I said to my husband when I read it.

Maybe it was, but just in case - it is wrong on so many levels.

Her letter represents an attitude that gives Lake Oswego a bad name as a snobby, elitist city. Not everyone who lives, shops, or works in Lake Oswego is wealthy and can afford not to do comparison shopping or want to save money. A diverse community should be welcomed and competition should be encouraged.

It is offensive to say that the 'wrong people' (i.e., from Sherwood, Wilsonville, Beaverton, Tigard, Tualatin, etc.) will be drawn to LO because of a Walmart. Are these people allowed to shop at other LO stores? Are our elite shops going to ask about residency before making a sale? Are there not other Walmarts that are probably closer to these communities than one in LO?

Jobs are scarce for our teenagers and even those people with college degrees. Since unemployment in Oregon still hovers around 10 percent, jobs are important. I imagine that 7-11, Rite Aid, Safeway, Albertson's, etc. don't pay much more than what Walmart offers.

Our community can let free enterprise work. If no one shops at a store it will close (as Nature's did). Lake Oswego was not founded as a refuge for the wealthy. It was a working and farming community, with the advantage of lake property becoming available for summer residents. Most people who live in LO are genuine, real people, who do not deserve to be connected with elitist prejudice.

Barbara Johnson

Milwaukie

How about offering fishing at new Foothills dock?

To the Editor:

I would like to suggest the city make room for fishing on the new public boat dock at Foothills Park. It is a beautiful dock and it is nice seeing all the yachts tied up there now, people presumably from out of town enjoying our public waterfront.

With this facility, Lake Oswego has taken a step toward becoming a more interesting tourism destination. Now let's not leave the community behind. Perhaps the city could hold an annual fishing derby for kids. The event could be fun and educational, and might include a barbeque picnic at the park.

Perhaps they could lift the ban on fishing there periodically, or during certain hours, when the shad or salmon are running. They could reserve room on the dock, between the yachts, for fishing.

This seems only fair now that we have a public boat dock on the river, paid for, in large part, by city residents. Please remember not all residents who like to fish own a boat, and every kid deserves the opportunity to learn how to fish. In general, I think we all need to spend more time on the water. It is good for soul.

Scot Siegel

Lake Oswego