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Walmart Watch 

Editor:

 As a long time Humboldt county resident from 1950-71 (Crannell, Samoa, Arcata, Eureka) I'd like to add my 0.02 cents worth on the Walmart issue ("Walmart, Jesus and Books without Borders," July 21).  I now live in Lebanon, Ore., and their store here has done nothing but harm to this struggling community.  They had their normal sized store in town but were not satisfied when they saw all the business the local Roth's IGA and Safeway stores pulled in. They purchased land across the street where the local drive-in theater had operated for years. This was also a historical site marking a portion of the old Santiam Trail over the Cascades. 

 They destroyed the landmark trail and put up a small plaque in its place, then built their super store. Not only do they have a full grocery department selling "organic" (?) produce from China, they enlarged the hardware and nursery departments with cheap imported merchandise further depleting the customers at the local Mom & Pop businesses.  Hardware, nursery and clothing stores have since folded, along with the home town atmosphere. True, the parking lot is generally full, but those of us who prefer quality over knock offs now do our shopping in Albany on a less frequent basis than if we lived there.  Add to the problem low, part-time wages.  Women are particularly targeted for three- to four-hour shifts that barely pay the cost of childcare.  Most of them average less than 30 hours a week, with no further benefits.

Is this the benefit Eureka is looking for to boost the local economy?  It won't work, and it would be wise for those in favor to do their homework and investigate how cities and towns providing tax free encouragement to Walmart are now regretting their decisions to allow a corporate entity like this into their community.  It certainly was wrong here, looking around at all the vacant businesses that had prospered for so long, now dark and empty.  Please tell me you'll reconsider.

 Don Anderson, Lebanon, Or

 

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