Oregon City and Hillsboro did There used to be a saying that you can't fight city hall. These days, one might say that you can't fight Wal-Mart. But that truism is crumbling.
Oregon City and Hillsboro have taken on the giant discounter and lived to tell about it. The Oregonian reported Monday that the city council of Oregon City denied Wal-Mart's request to clear two acres of residential land for commercial use.
"In the end, commissioners said a big-box store doesn't fit with their vision for the city," reported The Oregonian, "a vision that emphasizes mixed-use developments and neighborhoods that are more pedestrian-friendly and less automobile oriented."
Noting the change of direction, one city commissioner said: "Fifteen years or 10 years or even five years ago, we would have said, 'Sure.'"
In another case, Wal-Mart has recently appealed Hillsboro's similar rejection of a store.
Oregon City has chosen to be a community with neighborhoods that are friendlier to residents instead of trashing those neighborhoods to accommodate a business giant. That is a fairly significant shift and a healthy one.
Wal-Mart's calling card is low prices and jobs. The larger truth is that Wal-Mart decimates a community's retail sector through predatory pricing. An estimated 40 percent of Wal-Mart employees don't have health insurance, so taxpayers effectively pick up that tab. Wal-Mart's work week and pay scale effectively keeps employees below the poverty line.
Oregon City and Hillsboro are doing the right thing. Wal-Mart is not good for a healthy community.