Dear Warrenton: What are you thinking?

Last week I was driving down U.S. Highway 101 and saw more mass destruction of your forests and wetlands, for what I can only assume is additional retail structures. Do you realize you are shooting yourself in the foot?

Over the fall/winter last year, I was delighted to actually see a herd of elk grazing along the road. Someone told me this herd has traveled through Warrenton for hundreds of years. That is amazing. Way more amazing that the giant aluminum-sided boxes you are allowing to be built.

I understand these businesses mean tax revenue for your town, but take it from me, that is all temporary. These retailers will close their doors – look at Circuit City, Handy Andy, Best Buy – giant retail chains come and go. They don’t care, and will just walk away; they only care about short-term profit, and probably demanded tax breaks from the county, city and state to build there in the first place.

I grew up in an area far from here, and I saw first-hand as forest and farmland became a retail megalopolis, only to become abandoned, in time, and left to rot. Meanwhile, wildlife can’t eat concrete or aluminum. And our taxes skyrocketed in order to cover the costs of additional police and services required by the retailers.

The thing is, this suburban-style sprawl is taking over America, and all this retail makes Warrenton look like Anywhere, USA. It takes away every special thing about the region. Take a drive across the U.S., see the horrific sprawl in places that were once beautiful destinations. Now much of America is indistinguishable from state to state.

Please stop tearing down all that is special about this area to make shopping easier. People don’t need all these things, they need to walk trails and see wildlife. There is plenty of shopping for people in Clatsop County already – there are all the strip malls and stores in Warrenton, downtown Astoria, Seaside and Cannon Beach. We also have Longview, Wash., an hour away and Portland two hours away. 

People come to this area for the beauty, the nature, the water, the trees, not to shop at Dollar Tree. Please stop this madness.