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Naomi: Now just trying to get off the property

by: Eric Norberg Naomi Montacre, proprietor of Naomi’s Farm Supply in Sellwood, told the SMILE Land Use Committee, meeting on July 7th at SMILE Station, of her immediate efforts to vacate the property she had been renting from the Les Schwab Company by the end of July, to accommodate plans for construction of a tire center on the east end of the property.

Naomi Montacre in 2010 rented the space for 'Naomi's Organic Farm Supply', at Tacoma Street and McLoughlin in Sellwood, from Les Schwab Tires, which had purchased it for a tire center. She had hopes she could continue to rent space on the property for her business, since the tire center would not require all of it.

However, the Bend-based company plans its tire center on the northeast corner of the large property, and intends to divide the property at approximately the middle of the sheet-metal structure from which Naomi operated her business, and after some month-to-month extensions, she was given until July 31 to vacate the property, and on July 6, a week to vacate the building. A demolition permit had been issued to remove it.

Consequently at a SMILE Land Use Committee hearing on the tire company's request for variances on July 7th, the question was not whether she could remain on the property, but whether she would be given adequate time to leave it. 'We're now just trying to get off the property…we'd like enough time for a smooth exit. We would be gone by August.'

Naomi told THE BEE after the hearing that there is not yet a property secured to move the business to, and the immediate project was to move the inventory to a secure storage spot until a satisfactory piece of property could be found - hopefully as near as feasible to Sellwood.

Meantime, the purpose of the hearing was to review requests to position the building so the service bays would face the Tacoma overpass embankment rather than the homes across the street to the north, and make four other adjustments.

Neighbor comments were taken; one nearby resident expressed concerns about noise, traffic, and crime; another asserted the planned store is 'too large'; a third worried about the effect of traffic to the store on pedestrians, bicyclists, and ducks; and a fourth simply said, 'Build it somewhere else.'

However, the property is zoned for such a business. The Schwab designers presented renderings of the planned store, and explained the variance requests as making the store more neighborhood-friendly. Elaborate landscaping is planned on the north side of the property.

The city was expected to decide on the requested variances by the end of July. The Schwab Company hopes to begin construction as early as August, pending remediation of the site by Exxon, where once there was a gas station. Schwab plans for the west end of the parcel, beyond where the lot will be divided, have not yet been announced.