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letters - Aug. 4, 2011

(Editor's note: All letters submitted to the Tidings this week are about Walmart, which plans to open stores in Lake Oswego and West Linn.

Many submissions refer to a letter from Elena King of Lake Oswego July 28 titled, 'Walmart is not what we need here.')

Anti-Walmart letter demeaning to WL citizens

To the Editor:

To determine choices for others or to single-handedly represent two communities is a most extravagant, narrow-minded and self-serving endeavor. Clearly I am appalled by the (opinion column) titled 'Walmart is not what we need here,' (West Linn Tidings, July 28).

It may be true that residents of Lake Oswego choose to shop at high-end stores and are not in need of 'affordable convenience.' But is this true of all residents of Lake Oswego? I don't believe it is true of all residents in West Linn.

In my experience, the residents of West Linn represent a wonderful variety of people.

As a resident of West Linn for many years, I have experienced a mix in age groups, professions, levels of education, interests and hobbies, ethnic diversity, religious and spiritual practices … ad infinitum.

Walmart may appeal to some of our residents. Some residents may choose to be employed there. Traffic is already massive. Why would we not welcome people from Tigard, Tualatin, Beaverton, Sherwood and Wilsonville? I don't believe that West Linn is a non-welcoming community in any respect. I don't believe we are not conscientious of our safety or blind to the possibility of crimes, and we also have an incredible police department.

I most humbly confess I would not make judgments of or predictions about my community of West Linn as a whole. Alas, I further confess I am highly educated (B.S., Ed.M., Ph.D.), am a senior who has lost much of my retirement savings, am partially dependent on Social Security and I will probably check out costs at Walmart. It is my choice.

Angela R. Dreher

West Linn

Walmart letter sent the wrong message about LO

To the Editor:

With a huge sigh of relief, I am so thankful for the comments against Elena King's July 28 letter opposing Walmart in Lake Oswego/West Linn.

I was appalled by her letter and sickened that her snobby comments ended up sending yet another horrible stereotype of our community out into the world.

My husband and I moved here five years ago and have loved every minute of it, exploring the beautiful parks, shopping and meeting other hard-working and genuine people in not only Lake Oswego, but in our neighboring cities as well.

We feel this is the best place to raise our family because of the people and businesses that make it so special.

Yes, Walmart is not local or sadly in Ms. King's case not 'high-end,' but if it creates some jobs and keeps business humming in our town, I think that's great.

I am thankful to have a job and live a comfortable life in Lake Oswego, but that doesn't mean I don't enjoy saving money on groceries or going to Tigard or Wilsonville to find a better deal on clothes. My question to Ms. King is, what would you do if your high-end stores closed down? God forbid, you would have to visit Tualatin, Tigard or Wilsonville and subject those poor citizens to your downright repulsive attitude.

Kristin Krahmer

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

'Walmart is exactly what this community needs'

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 ... 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 mindset, 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

Anti-Walmart letter sends the wrong message

To the Editor:

I've lived in Lake Oswego for 46 years, and Elena King's letter on July 28 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 'is wrong on so many levels' -jobs are needed

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 (Elena King from the July 28 Tidings) 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 L.O. because of a Walmart. Are these people allowed to shop at other L.O. 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 L.O.?

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-Eleven, 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 L.O. are genuine, real people who do not deserve to be connected with elitist prejudice.

Barbara Johnson

Milwaukie

Letter made me feel ashamed to live in Lake Oswego

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, often times 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

'Not-In-My-Backyard' strikes quickly with opposition

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

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 'upscale.'

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 'upscale,' 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

Getting value while shopping is important, as is creating jobs

To the Editor:

This is in response to Elena King's letter of July 28 in the West Linn Tidings.

Seriously, really Elena?

Elena states that, 'West Linn and Lake Oswego have residents that enjoy shopping in high-end stores with a reputation for quality products …'

As a 30-year Lake Oswego resident, I actually enjoy shopping at places that give me more value for my money than some 'high-end' stores. I would rather drive to WinCo - as do many of my well-educated friends do - bag my own groceries and have more money in my pocket than shopping at a boutique store where I have to shell out more money for the same product.

Walmart carries brand-name products at better prices than many other retailers.

I actually have a picture of a Maserati - which, last time I checked is a high-end car - parked in the lot of WinCo during one of my visits there. On any given day, there are many Mercedes, SUVs and other 'high-end' cars there - so obviously the rich stay rich because of smart money decisions.

I'm sure there are some unemployed, well-educated residents of Lake Oswego and West Linn who might jump at the chance to work at Walmart in order to have a job and put food on the table for their families. Don't you think our local high school teens and college students home for the summer would love to have a job at Walmart with a possible future in management?

Lake Oswego and West Linn are 'upscale' communities but are not isolated from the reality today's economy is having on our population.

Linda Hilgart

Lake Oswego