Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Citizens in Medford, Oregon aren't all that interested in a new Wal-mart Supercenter being built and they are even less excited about the traffic gridlock it will create. And they absolutely don't want to have to spend their or their city's money to deal with it all.

Who blames them?

Medford Citizens for Responsible Development says the Site Plan and Architectural Commission and city staff improperly interpreted city code by allowing the plan to move forward without a comprehensive traffic impact analysis.

“Traffic in that area is already so bad that taxpayers are poised to spend $75 million on the new interchange. If Wal-Mart is allowed to build there, the additional traffic will overwhelm the planned south Medford interchange and we will have gridlock once again,” said Shareen Vogel, a spokesperson for the group.

Residents want Wal-Mart to fund street improvements to accommodate the additional traffic the store would attract.

Jennifer Spall, a Wal-Mart senior manager of public affairs in Bellevue, Washington taking a page from the old playbook says those causing the trouble are those famous, pesky outside agitators.

She told the Southern Oregon Mail Tribune, "The opponents are union groups and people who don't live in the city of Medford."

In fact, Medford Citizens for Responsible Development formed to organize opposition to the development, and is a grassroots organization of community residents and business owners which is simply working to ensure public involvement in the process.

Sounds like a bunch of radicals to me.

By the way before they approved the plan the City Council last year rejected plans for the 207,000 square-foot Wal-Mart Super Center at Miles Field along Highway 99 at Center Drive.

Flip flopper, flip flopper, flip flopper!

Bruce Bauer of Citizens for Responsible Development and other speakers have also told their local "leaders" about studies indicating that Wal-Mart stores tend to reduce the average retail salaries in the area and drive out small businesses.

“What is this going to do to our downtown?” Bauer asked at one council meeting. “It’s going to kill it.”

Beverly DeLeondis speaking of the small, local businesses told the council last summer, "They've been good neighbors good friends some of them like Sherms (Food 4 Less) have been giving back to the community why put them out of business for a Wal-mart that has never been part of our community?"

The council said they couldn't really take that sort of thing into consideration.

They call it local government, don't they? But they can't take local folks into consideration?


The following is from Rogue Valley IMC.


7 PM, Thursday, Sept. 18, 2008
Medford City Council Chambers
Medford City Hall (next to Post Office)

Medford Citizens for Responsible Development (MCRD) will present its case before the Medford City Council this Thursday evening, Sept 18, 2008, arguing the city must require Walmart to conduct an in-depth traffic analysis (TIA) prior to approving its application to construct a retail supercenter at the old Miles Field baseball park off South Pacific Highway near Stewart Avenue in South Medford.

MCRD is appealing the August 2008 decision of the city's Site Plan and Architecture Commission which approved the application based upon a traffic analysis conducted 17 years ago when Miles Field was hosting the Medford "A"s baseball team on the county-owned parkland. The city argues that this fact is irrelevant, it has met the letter of the law, if not the intent. MCRD believes that city code requires the TIA be developed at such time as a commercial developer can make necessary improvements to prevent traffic gridlock.

MCRD also believes that an in-depth TIA (which would require projections of future traffic levels generated by the retail supercenter) would likely indicate an increase of 7000 - 9000 vehicle trips per day - which could create traffic gridlock, and necessitate major improvements in nearby intersections - or even re-routing of traffic in the area.

"If traffic gridlock could result from the construction of the Walmart Supercenter at Miles Field," asks MCRD spokesperson Ivend Holen, "who should pay for the possible millions of dollars in construction costs to remedy such a mess?"

"Isn't it reasonable for the Medford City Council to ask the city to prepare a TIA to determine the likely results of adding so much traffic to this area? If the analysis indicates no problem, then fine.

"But if millions of dollars will be needed to cure a projected traffic problem, why should Medford taxpayers have to pay for it instead of the largest retail corporation in the world?" he asks.

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