This is my response to Don Haskell’s guest column, “Use common sense on chain businesses” (The Astorian, March 17):
I’ve been a resident here for four years, so I would be considered a newcomer. I had relatives who lived here for 40 years, so I’ve witnessed the economic ups and downs.
A tourist-based economy is fragile, as witnessed by the restaurant shutdowns and cruise cancellations due to the coronavirus.
In my experience as a senior trying to find work in this town, it has been impossible. I’m forced to work at big chain stores part time for $11 an hour. I do think it’s ironic that Astorians like to shop at these stores, but they don’t want them in their town.
I’m not sure in Haskell’s article what “substantial portion” means statistically, but in my experience the natives want to keep the town the way it is, while the newcomers want it to modernize.
Given current shutdowns, and the chains that have been turned down, I hope Astoria can sustain itself with local businesses, run by natives, because they aren’t very welcoming to newcomers here.