Whole Foods' departure a serious blow

I am writing to express my disappointment with Whole Foods leaving Gresham. I am in no way blaming the city of Gresham but wanted to express how much Whole Foods leaving Gresham changes my family's quality of life.

I do agree somewhat with city Economic Development Director Janet Young's quote in the media regarding the merger process with Wild Oats - that Gresham was not in Whole Foods' long-term plan. On the other hand, it is hard for me to believe that with Gresham being the fourth-largest city in Oregon, and with the surrounding population of the three cities, that if Whole Foods was making money, it would not have left.

My family shopped at Whole Foods weekly, and its departure changes our quality of living in East County. We now will have to drive to the Pearl or the Whole Foods on East Burnside to do our shopping. As a proud East County resident and someone who is trying to better the quality of life in the area, this is a serious blow.

I know on the surface it looks like it is not that big a deal that a 'health food' store is leaving the area, but I believe it is more serious than that. Whole Foods must have looked at the Gresham area as not a good place to be and decided that Tanasbourne was a more profitable store location. I am under the impression that people who shop at Whole Foods or similar stores have a higher income than people who shop at Wal-Mart. Although I have no issue with Wal-Mart, I do believe for a city to be successful it needs to have variety for all income levels. I see the departure of Whole Foods as a statement that it does not believe the Gresham area has the income levels necessary to support a store of that type. For a region of our size, I find this disheartening.

What are the chances of getting a New Seasons in the area, maybe at Gresham Station? How can the East Metro Economic Alliance help the city with courting a new store to the area?



President, East Metro Economic Alliance

Why can't we have high-end stores?

Someone please enlighten me - am I the only one who doesn't understand why Gresham, the third-largest city in Oregon, can't keep decent, let alone high-end, establishments in its city limits?

Now we have Wild Oats departing, just to add to a growing list of others that have left: Newport Bay, QFC, Pizzacato, a fine furnishings store in downtown Gresham. How about Cloudtree and Sun or The Twisted Vine? We couldn't even attract a Trader Joe's. We have a Wal-Mart mentality, and we didn't even want them.

I am thankful for Gresham Station and its Borders and World Market - will they survive in this area - but can you imagine being able to attract stores like Kitchen Kaboodle or, heaven forbid, another Gap - or trying to get a big anchor store like a Macy's? So, I will continue to trek over to Clackamas for my See's Candy and Nordstrom, passing by and shopping at New Seasons. I'll drive down to Northwest 23rd for my Pottery Barn and Restoration Hardware fix and will cruise over to Bridgeport Village for Crate and Barrel.

Are we a bunch of bubbas living out in the boonies? Of course, I live in Boring, so that may say it all.



Editor's note: Current census numbers list Gresham as Oregon's fourth-largest city, following Portland, Eugene and Salem.

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