Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

A Costco store near Broadway/Weidler couplet?

Posted by on January 4th, 2011 at 9:23 am

(Graphic by Joshua Cohen of Fat Pencil Studio)

The Oregonian reports this morning that Mayor Sam Adams is considering a deal that would bring big box store Costco to a site just north of the Rose Quarter (see map below). Right now only discussions have been had and no real deal has emerged, but if this happened, it would have a major impact on the transportation environment in an area that is already plagued with safety issues for bike traffic.

According to The Oregonian, Adams has talked to developers about a site currently occupied by Portland Public Schools that sits between North Interstate Avenue and N. Wheeler, just north of the Broadway/Weidler couplet (see graphic above). The Oregonian also reports that Adams has discussed the site with Portland Public Schools superintendent Carole Smith.

While it’s obviously very premature, a possible deal for Costco at this location has some legs. The deal would give Adams a jobs-creation talking point, it would show that he’s “good for business,” it could be framed as a way to spur redevelopment of the Rose Quarter (something he wants dearly), and it would help make the case for transit-oriented development with the new streetcar tracks already installed on Broadway/Weidler.

This is definitely something to keep an eye on for transportation advocates. The Broadway/Weidler couplet is already fraught with transportation safety issues and a new big box store would generate thousands of new motor vehicle trips to the area.

Check out the full story at The Oregonian.

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  • Dave January 4, 2011 at 9:26 am

    Especially Costco, where everything is sold in mass quantities…

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  • Eric In Seattle January 4, 2011 at 9:42 am

    This does not necessarily need to be a bad thing. I’m not sure how things work in Portland, but if Costco is required to pay for traffic mitigation this may be the way to get an existing problem area fixed.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) January 4, 2011 at 9:49 am


      Yes, Costco would be on the hook for a variety of taxes and fees…. one of them – System Development Charges, are specifically levied to pay for impact on transportation. But it would be a matter of… is it worth it overall?

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  • chrisgunn January 4, 2011 at 9:49 am

    If they put one there they should either 1) charge for parking (just like most of the Lloyd District) or 2) Make a very small parking lot a la New Seasons to encourage people to use alternative transportation.

    Most people get big and bulky things from Costco though…maybe time for CARGO bikes! I wouldn’t be too opposed, but I already grocery shop on my cargo bike. Maybe Sam Adams could hit two birds with one stone and pilot some kind of cargo bike rental system for the area 🙂

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    • kj January 4, 2011 at 11:35 am

      Hmmm another entrepreneurial business idea but what if there were a cargo bike delivery option so you could take transit or bike to costco and hire someone to bike your stuff home via cargo bike, no car needed no bike return needed.

      Over all i think that is a horrible location for a Costco though.

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  • Alex Reed January 4, 2011 at 9:59 am

    Maybe I’m being swayed by visions of loading my Costco purchases into my currently-non-existent cargo bike, but it doesn’t seem like such a bad idea to me.
    I definitely agree with chrisgunn, the City should require that they charge for parking.

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  • boneshaker January 4, 2011 at 10:02 am

    Who’s going to take the street car to Costco? Ugh please keep the big chain stores out of downtown. There’s plenty of room for them out in the burbs.

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    • rigormrtis January 4, 2011 at 10:45 am


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  • sam January 4, 2011 at 10:02 am

    A deal for one big box store in the area opens the door for all the rest of them, right? Does anyone really want redevelopment of the Rose Quarter that ends up like 82nd? I can’t see the streetcar being a popular mode to Costco.

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  • A.K. January 4, 2011 at 10:06 am

    If a big-box business just HAS to go there, Costco would be the one to have.

    To me, it has two things going for it:
    1.) They are known as a good employer who pays their employees well.
    2.) They are membership based, so there wouldn’t be QUITE as many people going as if it were a Wal-Mart, for example.

    However, I think number 2 above could be rendered null by the drawing power of a centralized Costco. Now people don’t need to drive to east Portland or Beaverton, Tigard, etc. to shop there. It could potentially draw more business than those further out locations, and impact area streets in a negative manner. There IS a reason that these places are usually located in suburbia.

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    • rigormrtis January 4, 2011 at 10:53 am

      Think about how many fewer miles would be driven by a centralized Costco….especially if it is served by transit (though probably not the best system for transporting large purchases. It would be leveraging existing infrastructure, one of the principles of smart development.

      It could potentially draw more business, which is a good thing. Wouldn’t you rather have dollars spent in Multnomah county instead of Washington County?

      While there usually IS a reason these stores are in ‘suburbia”, it usually has more to do with the availability of open space, the proximity of other businesses, zoning, and accessibility (such as being by a highway).

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  • pdxmike January 4, 2011 at 10:06 am

    How about only if they build up some flyover ramps so that no-one gets right hooked by a Chrysler mini-van full of frozen chicken breasts and over-sized cleaning products.

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    • adam January 4, 2011 at 10:27 am

      now that is a great idea 😉

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  • Paul Souders January 4, 2011 at 10:08 am

    Before we dogpile on Costco-the-company, consider:

    — Costco’s management supports raising the minimum wage
    — their average employee makes $17/hr and has health insurance
    — they don’t “believe” in surveillance because they trust their customers not to steal (seriously: no cameras!) How cool is that?
    — they generally support democrats and progressive politics

    A centrally-located Costco would mean many fewer long car trips to Clackamas, Parkrose, or Tigard esp. for working families living close-in eastside Portland. This particular location would encourage a lot of people to make their trips by bike or transit which is pretty much unheard-of at a Costco.

    Imagine a bakfiets loaded with Kirkland diapers. That would pretty much signal that utility biking is Officially Mainstream, and would go a long way to defusing the ridiculous notion that bike transport is for zillionaire yuppies or somesuch.

    Traffic, congestion, infrastructure etc: yes of course. And right in the Rose Quarter might not be my first pick for a close-in location. But seriously, in a lot of ways Costco is like the anti Wal-Mart & I see a lot of potential good in this.

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    • John Lascurettes January 4, 2011 at 10:59 am

      All great info Paul, thank you. There was a lot in what you said that I was not aware of.

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    • Thomas Le Ngo January 5, 2011 at 11:53 am

      Great points. I would become a member if they built a Costco there.

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    • Jackattak January 5, 2011 at 12:20 pm

      Agree with John and Thomas above. Thanks for the info, as a lot of that I wasn’t aware of at all.

      That makes this deal, should it come to fruition, a little more palatable for me. I live Downtown so Broadway and Weidler aren’t really a concern for me, although I generally dislike the idea of big boxes in my inner-city for the obvious reasons.

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    • matt picio January 5, 2011 at 12:41 pm

      That certainly puts them above Wal-Mart, and I applaud their efforts – but what about the effect on local businesses? With a local business, anything above the cost of goods sold stays with the community. Each dollar spent is re-spent in the community on local taxes, local contractors, local suppliers, etc. (there are some exceptions) On average, each dollar spent represents some $17 of economic activity locally. any surplus goes to the owner(s), who are generally local residents. For a corporation like Costco, much of the money above the cost of goods goes to the employees, and some to local businesses, but much goes to out-of-state businesses, and any profits go to the company headquarters, in whatever state that is.

      Also, that area can’t handle the extra traffic. The only people I see benefiting from this are the tow companies that will haul away people’s cars who think they can park there during Blazers games.

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  • Joe January 4, 2011 at 10:08 am

    I for one am very excited about the prospect of a Costco being so close. I can finally use my portier rack for a 30 pack of toilet paper and 2 lbs of jarlesburg cheese!

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  • John Landolfe January 4, 2011 at 10:20 am

    If there was a simpler route to get from downtown to inner North Portland, I would just as soon avoid the Rose Quarter all together. A Costco sounds like a big headache in the short term but in the long term centralizing business to a city’s core is one of the biggest steps to reducing car dependency.

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  • NF January 4, 2011 at 10:21 am

    We all imagine costco as some sort of suburban behemoth, but it doesn’t have to be that way. In Vancouver CA, there is a multistory, mixed use Home Depot and Bust Buy! Coscto can come, but they have to play by our rules: Multistory, mixed use, carshare spots, home delivery service, and human-scale details.

    It is true that the scale of their goods lends itself to car traffic, but by constraining parking and pressuring other factors, it could become much more compatible with the urban environment.

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  • Ely January 4, 2011 at 10:22 am

    As big-boxes go, Costco is not bad. However, I just don’t see it working in that area. There is no way to convince the majority of people not to drive there – cargo bike rental would be cool for us, but not for minivan moms and guys buying tvs. Costco is a huge draw and the traffic would be a nightmare.

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  • cyclist January 4, 2011 at 10:22 am

    I haven’t decided yet whether or not Costco is the best use of the space, but I don’t think the criticism that a Costco will bring traffic to the area has merit. It’s a given that the city wants to redevelop the Rose Quarter, any redevelopment proposal is going to bring more traffic to these streets. If the potential new tenant on that land *doesn’t* bring new traffic then it’s basically a non-starter, right?

    So really the question is about whether Costco is the right fit for the area. I haven’t decided that myself, on the one hand it will bring a lot of people to the area, on the other I don’t know if Costco shoppers will do anything other than come to the area and then split. My understanding is that they want the Rose Quarter to be more of a destination area, and Costco might not help with that. Still, Costco will be a draw and that might help combat the feeling that the area is a “dead zone.”

    Last point: I feel like folks who say that Costco should stay out in the burbs are misguided. Why should we be encouraging people in the city to take more long trips in their cars? I know plenty of people in the city with Costco memberships, shouldn’t we want them to travel the shortest distance possible in order to limit fossil fuel usage and potentially make a cargo bike trip feasible?

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    • gregg woodlawn January 4, 2011 at 12:13 pm

      I’m not so familiar with Cosco- but I normally shop at the Alberta Food Co-op and other local businesses near my house that sell local goods.
      I imagine that Costco trucks are bringing chicken from Arkansas, apples from Michigan, and LOTS of stuff is coming off of ships from China. Not so good for “Shop local, support local businesses.”

      On a side note- I’m very excited about Classic Foods opening in their LEED certified building near 8th and Deakum.

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      • cold worker January 4, 2011 at 2:53 pm

        and you should keep shopping at the alberta co-op. i’m a member of peoples co-op, since maybe ’05 i guess. but since i lost my job in may of ’09 i have been there less than half a dozen times. i love co-ops but they are not reasonable if you don’t make a decent amount of money. when you’re broke, you’re broke. i prefer local by far but can’t always afford it, and i know i’m not alone.

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      • valkraider January 4, 2011 at 3:13 pm

        gregg woodlawn
        I’m not so familiar with Cosco- but I normally shop at the Alberta Food Co-op and other local businesses near my house that sell local goods.
        I imagine that Costco trucks are bringing chicken from Arkansas, apples from Michigan, and LOTS of stuff is coming off of ships from China. Not so good for “Shop local, support local businesses.”
        On a side note- I’m very excited about Classic Foods opening in their LEED certified building near 8th and Deakum.

        You should stop imagining and familiarize yourself with Costco.

        Costco buys lots of local produce and has been a huge proponent of organic farms. Costco sells things from Northwest farms just like any other grocery.

        But like any business, Costco (HQ in Issaquah Washington) does have to buy from where the supply is. They are no different than Safeway (HQ Pleasanton California), Fred Meyer (Owned by Kroger, Fred Meyer still maintains some offices in Portland but Kroger is in Cincinnatti Ohio), Albertsons (HQ Boise Idaho), or Trader Joes (HQ Monrovia California). All of those businesses buy goods from wherever those goods are produced.

        And EVERY SINGLE ONE of them buy goods made in China. I bet even the Alberta Food Co-op has some goods from China. Bike Gallery, River City, and most other bike shops sell bicycles and accessories made in China. Jo Bike sells cargo bikes made in China. I bet the computer you are reading this on was made in China or Korea. Microsoft makes XBoxes in China and Apple makes iPhones in China. Why is Costco so bad because manufacturers make things in China? Hell, even Canondale makes bicycles in China now… Even Oregon company Burley manufactures things overseas…

        Of course, you are free to still shop at the Alberta Food Co-op. No one wants to pass legislation forcing you to shop at Costco.

        I don’t get the demonization of Costco. It is arguably one of the *best* companies in the Northwest. I researched them extensively before I got my membership – mainly because I am a staunch opponent of WAL-MART and SAMs Club. So I wanted to make sure that Costco was not just more of the same…

        I have no stock or business relationship with Costco other than that I shop there occasionally (but would more if they were closer).

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        • Joe Doebele
          Joe Doebele January 5, 2011 at 5:24 pm

          You mentioned Joe Bike sells cargo bikes made in China. Aside from the ShuttleBug cargo bikes we design and handmake here in Southeast Portland, you are in part correct: for our much-less-expensive boxbike, we do use Chinese-made frames. We have them powdercoated in Southeast Portland. Then we do 100% of the build in the shop. This involves much, much more local input than is the case with pretty much any other factory-made bike, which ships to bike shops already 85%-95% assembled at a factory overseas–95% of the time in, yes, China.

          Every shop in Portland (or anywhere else, as far as I know) that sells cargo bikes, sells cargo bikes that are made in China. This applies to the other two utility-oriented shops in town, whose offerings include (particularly with Splendid) not only locally made cargo bikes but also those made in Taiwan and China. That’s because virtually all factory-made cargo bikes are made in China no matter what the label says. Not just the frame, but the powdercoating and 90% of the assembly also. By now, most or all Dutch-label cargo bikes are made in China, and the Danish Larry vs. Harry is made in Taiwan, not Denmark. Yuba Mundo, Big Dummy, anything XtraCycle, the new Trek, the new Civia–guess where these are made. So please lay off my shop. We have less Chinese content than probably any shop in town on the one hand and, on the other, far more direct local input, from design to fabrication to assembly.

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    • matt picio January 5, 2011 at 12:44 pm

      cyclist – Any new development will bring traffic, but the type of traffic may vary widely. Costco’s draw is buying in bulk at low cost, and that philosophy argues for more cars as the primary trips to and from that store. If this were Office Depot, things would be fine, but it’s Costco.

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  • tony January 4, 2011 at 10:23 am

    I led a ride to Costco during Pedalpalooza. This would certainly make future rides easier.

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  • Oliver January 4, 2011 at 10:25 am

    And a great price on 40 lbs of nutmeg!

    I have to admit I like the idea. I do run a rather lean pantry so I’m not entirely sure. I like how they appear to be socially responsible, but am slightly wary of the thin edge of the big box wedge however.

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  • Johnnie Olivan January 4, 2011 at 10:37 am

    Costco wants it like a new bicycle from wal-mart

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  • Katie January 4, 2011 at 10:38 am

    Any way one of our cargo bike companies could get a fleet devoted to costco home delivery? Streetcar to the store, buy all your stuff, then it arrives at your doorstep that afternoon, greenly for a small fee? Sounds like a pretty pleasant shopping experience, to me!

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  • Nick January 4, 2011 at 10:38 am

    Costco has definitely got to be one of, if not the least evil big-box companies around. This could be pretty cool, and provide some good jobs at a company whose ethics really match Portland’s culture.

    I just hope that they make some serious adjustments to their usual store layout and encourage clean transportation in more than a token manner.

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  • Kt January 4, 2011 at 10:40 am

    Lots of businesses (not just restaurants, either) purchase supplies from Costco.

    Why make those people drive all the way out to the ‘burbs for their supplies?? The cost of supplies gets built into what businesses charge for their services and products. Make it easier for businesses to get their supplies.

    My big thought on this whole thing is where are they going to put the parking lot? It doesn’t seem like a Costco is the right thing to put in the Rose Quarter, but I could be wrong.

    I like Costco, the one in Wilsonville has self-checkout so I can get in and out without having to wait in really long lines.

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    • A.K. January 4, 2011 at 5:42 pm

      When I was in Japan, they had a Costco with garage parking on the roof.

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  • single track January 4, 2011 at 10:49 am

    multilevel parking required, preferably under store to reduce footprint. also, the entire property must be stormwater neutral or even better, absorb water from all of the other poorly designed developments in the vicinity.

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  • valkraider January 4, 2011 at 10:55 am

    If they put one there they should either 1) charge for parking (just like most of the Lloyd District)

    You mean except for the Lloyd Center’s thousands of free parking spots, and all the free parking around Safeway, Dollar Tree, and Pier One imports.

    I personally think this would be an OUTSTANDING place for a costco, and the central city desperately needs things like this, and Best Buy, and others. They don’t have to be on such a massive scale as their suburban chains, but people who live in the central city deserve access to retail too.

    This would be the first Costco accessible by MAX, streetcar and bus, not to mention centrally located on several key bike routes.

    Not everyone who shops at Costco buys 1000lbs of stuff each trip. It would be easy to make several small truips by bicycle or transit, and Costco also sells movies, books, video games, clothes, and other “smaller” items. It is not always the 10 gallon tub of mayonnaise. 🙂

    I could ride my regular bike there as easily as I do Fred Meyer on Broadway&30th.

    It would also be great for business in the central city, like mine, to be able to get our stuff closer in rather than having to drive out to the suburbs…

    I don’ t think this would create *more* traffic, as the people it would service are already in that area (like me). Most people won’t drive in from other locations to shop there, since every other area of the metro already has a costco.

    People who bike should want MORE businesses in the central city…

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    • Jackattak January 5, 2011 at 12:32 pm

      All this talk about Best Buy from some posters is intriguing to me…is Best Buy still even in business? I thought they went under with Circuit City with the advent of Newegg and other online electronics retailers.

      I haven’t been in an electronics store in a decade, it seems.

      I suppose living in Downtown Portland will skew your world knowledge quite a bit (as it seems to have done here to me). I need to get out of Downtown more often…

      That all being said, the only way I would tolerate a Best Buy in my Downtown neighborhood would be if they built it UP not OUT and they put it close to Pioneer Place so the suburban traffic stays contained to an easily-avoidable area.

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      • valkraider January 5, 2011 at 12:52 pm

        Best Buy has been expanding. They have new stores all around Portland.

        Locations I know off the top of my head: Johnson Creek are of SE 82nd, Cascade Station by the airport, Tualatin near I5, Cedar Hills Crossings in Beaverton, Across from Washington Square in Beaverton/Tigard (where Powells used to be?), and Tanasbourne in Hillsboro at 26 and 185th.

        I think a Best Buy in the Lloyd center area would be good.

        Just never listen to their employees – they are all brain dead. And never never never never buy a cable at Best Buy. They charge $30 to $60 for a cable you can get for $3 online or $6 from “Free Geek” in SE Portland.

        I take my bike to MAX, then MAX to near the Best Buys. I get funny looks locking up my bike at Best Buy – most people there don’t know what a bicycle is. 😉

        And for the record, I am not saying the PPS location is perfect for Costco. Just that I would love to see one in the area….

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      • wsbob January 5, 2011 at 1:21 pm

        Jack …I haven’t noticed lately how BB’s stock is doing, but my impression of the store near me out in Beaverton, suggests the business is doing well. Within the last year, it added a huge, sound isolated (because the main floor is very noisy) musical instrument section…mostly guitars and amps, but hey!…lots of very nice stuff.

        Beaverton BB did have a small selection of electric bikes and a Segway, but they seemed to have got rid of them.

        Corporate seems to be keeping the store updated with changes in displays, fixtures, etc. Store is clean. Employees are enthusiastic and nice, but like valkrider said, going to them for tech knowledge may not be a very reliable route. Also, the prices aren’t rock bottom, though probably fair. Fry’s always seems to offer some very tempting loss leaders, which BB could take a cue from.

        BB Beaverton isn’t that large of a store…I’ll guess…maybe the size of Downtown Portland’s Office Depot. It would probably work fine downtown, except Downtown Portland doesn’t seem to have near as much evening business of the sort that would support a BB, as Beaverton does.

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    • matt picio January 5, 2011 at 12:50 pm

      “people who live in the central city deserve access to retail too”

      Um, they already have it – and access to far more retail than the suburbs have. We already have all the big-box stores we need. Building more will force others to close – look at Delta Park. Look at Marine Drive after Cascade Station finally opened. Look at the dying malls of Mall 205 and Jantzen Beach.

      How about putting the Costco on thew old Fred Meyer site at 188th & Burnside? Those folks could use another store that sells food. (or a WinCo)

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  • borgbike January 4, 2011 at 10:56 am

    My dream businesses for the location would be a Bi-mart and Grocery Outlet but that’s just me. 😉

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  • JAT in Seattle January 4, 2011 at 11:06 am

    Nice! Henry Weinhard’s is owned by MillerCoors – you’d better get busy.

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  • becky January 4, 2011 at 11:06 am

    I love Costco (and they love me back) but even die hard lovers of cheap TP and herring (to name two things from my most recent trip) should oppose this simply because it does not make economic sense for the district: from the Oregonian article:

    “They found that the property might sell for about $20 million, but it would cost $75 million, at least, to relocate the warehouse and offices to other school district-owned land. “Disposing of the BESC site will not generate anywhere near enough money to fund a comparable or scaled-back facility,” it concluded. ”

    Unless it is an outright win for PPS financially, they need to stay where they are and devote their limited dollars to making sure kids have safe schools with ample opportunities for learning (like returning electives that were cut last year, like getting Jefferson up to a comprehensive school standards!)

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  • spare_wheel January 4, 2011 at 11:10 am

    buying in “mass quantities” is often better for the environment than buying small quantities at a “local” market.

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  • mabsf January 4, 2011 at 11:18 am

    SF has a Costco in the semi-industrual area South of Market and the Mission… Might be helpful to contact some SF cyclist, what their experience is….
    PS: In the same area is a Trader Joe’s and SF’s famed green supermarket Rainbow… last I checked all doing still good business even though they were close to Costco (please correct if I am wrong!)

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    • adam January 5, 2011 at 1:48 pm

      I used to bike there to shop – along with Rainbow Co-op.

      once, I rolled up trying to by a hundred rolls of toilet paper – but I had forgotten that i clipped in. I am not sure what the normal costco folks thought about me as I slowed down then crashed in front of the door. luckily, I was wearing a helmet.

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  • mabsf January 4, 2011 at 11:21 am

    PPS: While not the most beautiful building, Costco was build on multiple levels (w/parking on top) with planters on the building to ‘green’ it…

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  • BURR January 4, 2011 at 11:27 am

    Don’t we already have enough big box stores in Portland?

    Aren’t there already people employed on that site?

    How many small businesses will an inner city Costco drive under?

    How much worse will this make traffic at NE Broadway and Larrabee for cyclists?

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    • valkraider January 4, 2011 at 11:46 am

      How many small businesses will an inner city Costco drive under?

      Probably very few. It’s just a completely different market/business plan. Additionally, (it has been mentioned) MANY MANY small businesses (including mine) actually buy much of their stock from Costco. A Costco centrally located would save us LOTS of time and driving.

      I have no idea if this spot is the ideal location. But I do know that they need a Costco in the central city, and preferably accessible by transit. Perhaps something in one of the unused warehouses in the central southeast area, close to the new Milwaukie light rail and eastside streetcar lines?

      But a Costco in the central city would be good. So would something like a Frys or Best Buy – so that people in the central city can buy electronics equipment as well. You can only buy so much at the Apple store, Fred Meyer Marketplace, GameStop, and Office Depot… (Although you can get to Best Buy on several train lines – Red to Cascade Station, Green to SE 82nd, WES to Washington Square, and Red/Blue to CedarHills Crossing).

      Remember – we have built a LOT of condos and apartments in the Pearl, NW, downtown, and Lloyd area (high density residences). We shop. I bike all over, and I walk all over, but I do end up driving out to the burbs for just a couple things. Costco being one.

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    • are January 4, 2011 at 1:12 pm

      thank you. a voice of reason. costco may not be the ultimate evil, but they are a big box, and they are not local. what kind of jobs are we really “creating” here? the proposed location will result in a great many more right turns off broadway onto wheeler and larrabee, which PBoT has already f*cked up. i had thought redevelopment in this area was supposed to be walkable. yes, you want additional “traffic,” but that does not have to mean hundreds of additional private automobiles per hour, each staying only a short while. how about something that actually attracts transit users and cyclists?

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  • Patrick January 4, 2011 at 11:33 am

    The lot is directly adjacent to the Water Bureau’s Facility with LARGE trucks using Hancock St and Larrabee Ave. The traffic peaks during regular business hours but work is also done on weekends an evenings as emergencies arise. Another thing to consider is twice a year (such as right now) grain trucks park in the middle & left lanes of Larrabee to queue up to turn into the grain elevators on the waterfront. This line of 20-30 trucks extends in front of the proposed site. These industrial uses and the road constraints for the area should disqualify the location.

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  • q`Tzal January 4, 2011 at 11:42 am

    Tax the bad land use choices not the individual businesses.
    Parking should not be so cheap as to make a MalWart profitable; CostCo is capable of adapting to fit the market.

    Make the freight entrance safe for all local bike and ped traffic, make the end commercial user(s) pay in to the transit system (they could give out a free round trip transit pass per purchase rather than validating parking) and then let the free market determine wether
    a big box store is profitable in a dense urban core.

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  • mello yello January 4, 2011 at 11:51 am

    Costco is the killer app for cargo bikes. Imagine an army of cargo bikes loading up with jumbo size groceries all lined up with bike boulevards leading away — every weekend. Cargo bikes exposed for the rest of Costco shoppers to see and eventually convert from their motorized SUV’s. Cargo bikes sold at Costco! A truly Portland thing. Other Costcos in Tigard, Beaverton, and outer NE Portland are inaccessible by cargo bike.

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    • spare_wheel January 4, 2011 at 12:49 pm

      i’ve been to costco near clackamas many times by bike. its located near the 205 bike path and there is plenty of bike parking.

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    • jim January 4, 2011 at 1:06 pm

      I’ve never seen a cargo bike at costco

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  • rhoneyfi January 4, 2011 at 11:54 am

    It may work if they radically change their big box design. Make it look more inviting, put some windows in it for crying out loud. Don’t make it as big as the burb stores. I do think it could spur some redevelopment in the area. Make parking limited and underground. I’m sure numerous cargo bike delivery co’s will show up and offer delivery for you right when you step out the door (that would be cool). Have Costco pay for road improvements.

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  • beth h January 4, 2011 at 12:05 pm

    I am torn.

    Like Mayor Adams I want to see job development and Costco would certainly help with that to a degree. I also like the idea of a cargo bike delivery fleet, though I’m not convinced the surrounding streets could be made safer to accommodate increased cycling in that area (especially with concurrent discussions about expansion of freeway access in the Bway/Weidler zone). And yes, we all shop and it would be good for people to be able to drive shorter distances to buy things.

    On the other hand, putting in ANY big-box store simply sets us up for more of the same: an economy built upon continued large-scale consumerism (and the increased motorized traffic required to support that) without any discussion about revisioning our lives to be smaller, more localized and less elaborate, ostentatious, wasteful and petroleum-dependent in the long run. Maybe I’m pipe-dreaming here but the conversation HAS to start somewhere, and NOW, and I just don’t really see that happening in city or state government.

    So I am on the fence about whether or not this would actually be a good thing for Portland.

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    • spare_wheel January 4, 2011 at 12:44 pm

      riding ones bike to fred meyer’s (kroger co. stock ticker KR) to purchase rice in a plastic bag is far less “green” than buying a 25 lb bag at costco. if we want to use less energy we need to buy things in larger quantities and with far less packaging. costco is not only a local northwest company but arguably one of the most progressive companies in the usa. when i lived in seattle i frequently shopped at the costco a stones-throw from downtown seattle. i would really enjoy having this option again in pdx.

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      • are January 4, 2011 at 1:14 pm

        how about riding one’s bike to the co-op to buy bulk rice in a bag you already have

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        • spare_wheel January 4, 2011 at 5:37 pm

          what you did not see was the packaging and repackaging of that rice as it was shunted from importer, to the interstate distributor, to the local distributor, and then delivered to the co-op in a largely empty and inefficient truck. often the most environmental toxic food miles come from local distribution.

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          • rigormrtis January 5, 2011 at 9:32 am

            Spare, I am shocked that I actually agree with you. Most people don’t focus on whole life-cycle costs. E.g., “bikes are carbon free”…except for the metal, rubber, lubricants and fact that they use a transportation based on carbon consumption.

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          • are January 5, 2011 at 2:44 pm

            wild rice is grown locally

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        • gregg woodlawn January 4, 2011 at 7:11 pm

          Nice idea!

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    • rigormrtis January 4, 2011 at 2:59 pm

      I think the big limitation would be the availability of suitable land. Portland already has pretty good infill development. If you saw these stores anywhere, it would be NW industrial area.

      As for ‘revisioning our lives”, you have to understand not everyone has the same values as you, or perhaps can afford to.

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  • Ben Foote January 4, 2011 at 12:21 pm

    If we can use the System Development Charges to connect Dixon to Flint and at the same time transform Dixon into an excellent bike boulevard then I’m all for it.

    But I’m not going to hold my breath.

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    • adam January 6, 2011 at 8:18 am

      yeah, that would require closing your mouth 😉

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  • Patrick January 4, 2011 at 12:29 pm

    Why this site won’t be used for a retail space:
    1. Four intersections on Broadway will need to be redesigned. There will be more danger of hooking collisions between bikes and cars attempting to turn NW into Larrabbee, Benton, Ross & Wheeler. (By redesign I mean new lights, striping, and lane modifications. This work will be very expensive.)
    2. Heading east on Broadway on Larrabbee left turns are not permitted, this would likely have to be redesigned.
    3. The site is not easily accessible from any other direction than Broadway. Where there is access from Kirby it will negatively impact the industrial uses that are already there.
    4. The large truck industrial uses by the neighbors make the traffic situation dangerous.

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  • dan January 4, 2011 at 12:39 pm

    How about this: no parking. Costco shoppers park in the Memorial Coliseum and Rose Garden lots, and Costco delivers your purchases back to your car. Costco only needs parking during the day – the other venues need it primarily at night. Why build more parking?

    I don’t think a Costco at that location would be such a bad thing…though I’m biased because I never bike on Broadway/Wiedler. I don’t think the city should subsidize it though — let Costco pay to relocate PPS if they really think it’s worth it to have a location in town.

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  • Mindful Cyclist January 4, 2011 at 12:56 pm

    I am kind of torn on this, but I am leaning toward saying let them build it. I guess the only thing that is keeping me from saying no is the increased traffic issue.

    But, some good paying, benefited jobs could be created by this store coming and I really don’t see it impacting much other businesses in the area.

    I would like the city make them make the new store look a lot less like the ones you see out in the ‘burbs. Make it look a lot less like a box store.

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  • Todd Boulanger January 4, 2011 at 1:01 pm

    Sorry to hear this is as ‘good’ as the redevelopment ideas go for the Rose Quarter. This is unless the CoP gets really creative with the urban form of this suburban retail model – the as mentioned workforce housing on top and wrapping the box with smaller street friendly retail would be a start. (How would this project fix the district’s problem of superblock stagnation?)

    As for traffic, the only worse area for this type of retail would have been on Hayden Island. Imagine the Costco suburban shopping rush traffic with a Blazer game going on! I am not sure I would still like to bike (or bus) through this district anymore unless a direct traffic free route where a project funded mitigation.

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  • mello yello January 4, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    Think of all the cheap hot/polish dogs and soda you could get.

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  • jim January 4, 2011 at 2:14 pm

    I would think that many of you would be in favor of the store being close in to town. Right now there are hundreds if not thousands of trips made by large SUV’s out to the suburbs everyday so people can get supplies for their restaurants…. This will cut out so many miles of driving everyday which means something to the people who believe in carbon footprints. I myself like to shop at stores closer to home better than driving across town. Right now I drive across town 3 days a week to get fresh rolls at Winco (really good the first day then not very good 2 days old) so I wish there was a Winco in N Portland for me.

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  • Steve B January 4, 2011 at 3:30 pm

    If done right, this could work. Don’t underestimate the critical need for jobs in Portland. CRITICAL!

    However, I’m not sure COSTCO is the best partner for this, it would be great to look closer to home for a partner who would keep the money circulating in our local economy. That seems to be the historical precedent we enjoy here in Portland.

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  • random rider January 4, 2011 at 3:34 pm

    But where will the future baseball stadium go?

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  • toddistic January 4, 2011 at 4:00 pm

    Costco, build us a velodrome in the rose quarter and you got a deal.

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  • Paul in the 'couve January 4, 2011 at 4:05 pm

    My first thougth as NO WAY. That area can’t handle a Costco traffic. But stopping to think it through it could be made to work if Sam Adams and the Bike community and the School District and the Neighborhood can all work together to work with Costco in coming up with a good model for the site.

    One thing is that Costco already has 7 locations in the Metro area! People are not going to be coming from Vancouver, or Beaverton to go to a Rose Quarter Costco. Rather, the design and plan should be that people who live in the Pearl, NW, and inner NE and SE will be the main target. Transporation and parking should be designed accordingly.

    Exactly the thing NOT to do, would be to try to make easier access off of I-5 and I-84. The access should focus on street level for multi-mode, with real consideration for bicycles, and pedestrians as well as streetcar and bus access.

    This could be the opportunity to put the Portland stamp on a new trend with big box stores located more in Urban areas. Target for one is building stores in NY and Chicago I believe.

    Properly though out this could actually be a win – win – win. Good for Costco. Creating Jobs right where people who really need Jobs live. Actually REDUCING car trips to the suburban Costco stores. And actually improving the streets in the area for Multimode travel.

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  • hroðberacht January 4, 2011 at 4:50 pm

    Here in Korea, the Costcos are set up rather differently (perhaps like the SF store mentioned above). My local warehouse is on two floors underground (escalator ramps between floors) with several floors of parking above. Even on insanely busy sunday afternoons, the traffic in the area doesn’t seem half as bad as the suburban Costcos I’ve seen in the states. There is a subway stop a block away and a major bus stop one more block from that, so perhaps that makes the difference. This is in a city of 700 thousand and density about three times that of Portland.

    While I am still not crazy about the idea, I think it can be done in a way that is mostly positive. As others have said, a major redesign is in order: include housing above, provide space for other retail in the development, scale the project to be pedestrian-friendly, contract with and provide space for a cargo bike delivery business, tightly integrate with the alternative transportation options that are around, and make the building look like it belongs in Portland.

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  • JR January 4, 2011 at 4:51 pm

    I wouldn’t mind a Costco somewhere closer to downtown, but it would be unfortunate to see another large format user go in this particular area. We already have the Legacy Emanuel hospital, the Coliseum, the Lloyd Center Mall, the Rose Garden Arena, and the Convention Center. What this area lacks is street connectivity, not a big box store.

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    • rigormrtis January 5, 2011 at 9:35 am

      Well, why not keep them all together? It maintains the character of not only that area but other ones as well.

      besides, zoning probably restricts it to that area anyway.

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  • CaptainKarma January 4, 2011 at 5:43 pm

    I don’t care how “least evil” a Costco is compared to those others; they all suck. Why do we need temples of mass consumption anyway. It has to change. This is merely a continuation of the absurd unlimited growth concept of the 60s, 70s, 80s, etc. Cargo bikes at a Costco a Portland thing? Gag me with a spoon. Makes me wanna holler that supposedly enlightened hipsters can possibly buy off on this farce.

    Sorry for bitterness….

    Once there were parking lots
    Now it’s a peaceful oasis
    you got it, you got it……

    This was a discount store,
    Now it’s turned into a cornfield
    you got it, you got it

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  • maxadders January 4, 2011 at 6:58 pm

    Sam Adams, big-box mayor? Is he trying to drive away the very last remaining fragments of his constituency?

    I really don’t care about the whole “social responsibility” aspect of this– it’s a big box supermarket smack-dab in the middle of an area that won’t receive that kind of traffic very well. If you think the streetcar (or being “in range” of you and your cargo bike) will reduce the number of people driving here, you’re out of your mind. The Costco in outer NE is mobbed on weekends and pretty busy during the week. Expect that kind of parking lot insanity around any new Costco that opens up– I don’t care if it’s in Gresham or Times Square– it’s Costco. Everyone loves it. It will attract people in droves.

    It’ll siphon off a lot of customers who now use other, less convenient Costco locations, and it will make a lot of “new” members for whom Costco is currently too far out of the way to justify a membership. Great for the company, but not great for people who live in inner NE. This is the kind of thing that screws up traffic for blocks and blocks around, even on high-volume streets. Inner NE is most certainly not known for its six-lane boulevards.

    Also not great for I-5 congestion– and it’ll be added right near one of the biggest problem areas of it, too. Awesome. Vancouver-to-Portland commuters will make Costco stops after work. Mix a little Blazers traffic in there, why don’t we? Fun, fun, fun.

    I’d almost rather see a Wal-Mart or a Target occupy the space– at least those places sell regular-sized items that families of any size can use. Costco, on the other hand, doesn’t offer much for smaller households. That and the $50 membership barrier almost guarantees that this will serve car commuters from other neighborhoods and cities before anyone else.

    Here’s hoping this is just a big show to help Adams shrug the ridiculous “anti-business” label. If he’s serious, and this goes through, I’m really going to have to question his judgement.

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    • spare_wheel January 5, 2011 at 12:07 pm

      i think your concerns are overblown. as long as this development results in improvements for cyclists/pedestrians i’m on board.

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  • BURR January 4, 2011 at 9:07 pm

    all this will mean is huge additional traffic volumes on broadway from I-5 to the bridge.

    ODOT should be all in favor, it will tip the scales on the proposed Rose Quarter widening.

    Flint bridge, anyone?

    and where is PPS going to move to?

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    • jim January 5, 2011 at 12:38 am

      maybe they will close one of the high schools and move them there

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  • wsbob January 5, 2011 at 12:05 am

    It’s interesting to me that so many people commenting to this thread are favorable to Costco, and in this location. I realize people want and even have to save money. Accomplishing that by way of a store like Costco seems definitely to be a mixed blessing.

    Valkrider’s January 4, 2011 at 3:13 pm comment, and remarks in some others of his about Costco’s singular virtue compared to other big box stores … . That’s all fine to the extent that it’s true.

    Costco is kind of fun to go and shop at. Once you’ve been there (especially on sample day), it’s not hard to figure why people would want to go there. You got to have the ‘membership card’ to get in. Gives those who have it that sense of exclusivity. Most of the peons probably won’t be in there, because they won’t be ponying up the bucks for membership.

    All together, the things Costco is and isn’t, are too complicated to just flat say the store is bad, or bad for this area of Portland. About it, there’s …good things…and bad things. I wonder how enthusiastic people in support of a Costco this close in to Downtown Portland would be if the store location were a bit further north…say…Swan Island?

    It’s almost certain that except for a very small percentage, most customers will be driving. That’s hardly likely to have a positive effect on walking and biking in this neighborhood. Another big asphalt parking lot desert.

    Thanks to a Costco in this location, walkers and bikers, and other motor vehicle drivers, will have the fun of dodging many, many motor vehicles coming out of Costco’s parking lot.

    Note that the Oregonian states that the school district’s existing building on the site being considered, is 365,000 sq ft. Quite a while back, I remember reading that an average size Walmart was 250,000. The O article of course, didn’t say how big Costco might build.

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    • spare_wheel January 5, 2011 at 11:57 am

      the same could be said for just about any big box store in pdx. and i personally would gladly trade 5 fred meyers for one costco.

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  • jim January 5, 2011 at 12:43 am

    it seams to me that a few years ago they wanted to put a costco in nw industrial area but the city decided it would be too dangerous to have passenger cars around freight trucks. I don’t think that is as big of an issue anymore as so many industrial businesses have left portland.

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  • Todd Boulanger January 5, 2011 at 10:44 am

    Build any big box under any future baseball (etc) stadium. Big box stores do not like windows so they can be underground.

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  • Ken January 5, 2011 at 10:54 am

    Costco would certainly mess up the traffic flow due to the thousands of cars that would visit daily.

    If PPS were to give up this property do they have adequate facilities to replace this, or would they have to ask for an even larger bond to pay for a new school district facility?

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    • wsbob January 5, 2011 at 11:47 am

      “… If PPS were to give up this property do they have adequate facilities to replace this, or would they have to ask for an even larger bond to pay for a new school district facility? ” Ken

      That’s the thing… . The Oregonian article says the school district isn’t chomping at the bit to leave. It has a huge building, and…it’s paid for. It’s a safe bet that traffic associated with the school district’s activities is not even remotely close to the traffic Costco will produce.

      If the city, and people commenting to this thread that are favorable to the proposed idea, really thinks a Costco is a great idea for this general area of Portland…rather than Swan Island, which I mentioned earlier, how about locating this apparently well loved big box store to some blocks adjoining Lloyd Center, thereby allowing Lloyd Center to more efficiently use its acres and acres of already existing parking?

      Lloyd Center is only about 10 blocks away from the school district building and the envisioned future site of Costco. Surely some fast food restaurants and other small businesses on the northern boundary of Lloyd Center could be as easily invited to leave as the school district, to make way for Costco.

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  • Anthony January 5, 2011 at 11:45 am

    Costco doesn’t spell the end of anything. It sounds as if this area already has transport issues, that needs solving, and should be solved as the city planners put forth their ideas on how to move the volume of vehicular traffic expected at Costco. Google Map “Costco Melbourne, Victoria, Australia”, the Costco here is in a rejuvenated part of the city, and the traffic related to the store crosses what of the most heavily used bike ways, to this day I know of no incident in this area between motorists and cyclists. Plus, Costco put in some nice bike parking facilities, not that you can buy much @ Costco when riding, but it’s the thought that counts. Fight for better bike infrastructure in the area, not the retailer.

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  • valkraider January 5, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    how about locating this apparently well loved big box store to some blocks adjoining Lloyd Center, thereby allowing Lloyd Center to more efficiently use its acres and acres of already existing parking?

    I like that idea even better, even closer to MAX and already has parking. There is LOTS of open space around Lloyd center where a Costco could be built – especially if they use Lloyd Center parking or put the parking under the building. Think of a nice mixed use building, with apartments on top, Costco and maybe some other small retail on the street level, and parking underneath. All easily accessible on MAX, streetcar, and several bus lines – and with good bicycle parking. A win win!

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  • was carless January 5, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    I’d rather see a nuclear missile silo be put here rather than a big box. And a pro sports team (way in the future) would be a much better fit.

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  • Dan January 5, 2011 at 2:31 pm

    Whatever benefits you can think of to there being a CostCo plopped into inner Portland are null if you REALLY think about it. There is NOTHING good about CostCo, despite their high wages and health insurance. It’s all Industrial garbage and the real costs of their products are externalized, JUST LIKE WALMART! For the love of God, let there be NO COSTCO inside 82nd!

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    • wsbob January 5, 2011 at 3:44 pm

      “… It’s all Industrial garbage and the real costs of their products are externalized …” Dan

      Oh c’mon now… . Have you ever actually been in a Costco? Do you even know what they sell? Because…much of the store’s merchandise is the very same mainstream goods that grocery stores, clothing stores, electronic stores, office supply stores, all carry. The store has a bakery. Are you saying baked goods are “….Industrial garbage…”?

      I’ve never been in a Walmart. What I’ve read and heard about that big box chain, doesn’t sit well with me. Even that business though, is not all bad, but I’d be far more receptive to the idea of a Costco than WM…anywhere.

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    • spare_wheel January 5, 2011 at 3:44 pm

      in my dreams there is a gleaming vegan anarcho-syndicalist market in my neighborhood. unfortunately, the reality is that i often have to choose between the kroger co. (grrrrrr!!!1!), safeway, and two yuppie health food stores.

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      • wsbob January 5, 2011 at 6:05 pm

        Beaverton has Winco, a grocery store with some of the best prices around (probably not as good as Costco’s with its huge volume purchase approach). It’s got some organics. The store’s produce isn’t as gorgeous looking as Whole Food’s but what’s there does a good job of feeding the bod. I don’t know the specifics, but I’ve seen signs in the store somewhere that say ’employee owned’.

        It’s a fairly large store. Not sure of the sq. ft. 100,000-150,000 sq ft. ? Actually, it seems about the same size, probably smaller…than the Costco on Merlo Rd. It has a huge parking lot, but being in the mall (Cedar Hills Crossing), it shares that parking lot with a whole bunch of neighboring businesses (including BestBuy), unlike the Costco on Merlo.

        Just a short walk or bike ride away from Winco in the mall complex, is also a yuppie grocery store, with all the fancy produce specimens. Nice place to visit.

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        • spare_wheel January 6, 2011 at 3:43 pm

          I did not know that winco was employee owned. next time I ride the 205 I’ll check them out.

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        • Paul in the 'couve January 6, 2011 at 8:13 pm

          Winco prices – especially when buying Store-Brand products are generally lower that Costco when calculated per ounce.

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    • rigormrtis January 6, 2011 at 3:40 pm

      Wait a sec….it’s awful if it’s downtown but okay if it is beyond 82nd? What do you have against the folks who live past 82nd?

      Your comments make you sound pretty elitist.

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  • Dan January 5, 2011 at 2:33 pm

    i think your concerns are overblown. as long as this development results in improvements for cyclists/pedestrians i’m on board.

    That’s pretty shortsighted.

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  • Dude January 6, 2011 at 2:24 am

    One thing they should include with this store that differ from other stores is a taxi zone. Its not good to have taxis stopped randomly in areas that block the view of children walking out into the parking lot. And of course covered bike parking. Perhaps they will sell bike trailers?

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  • rhoneyfi January 6, 2011 at 3:47 pm

    I’ve done some thinking and to get a couple acre site near downtown Portland that is surrounded by the MAX and streetcar and use it for a box store seems wasted and backwards. That’s a special plot of land (transit and location wise) that should be utilized very carefully. I say diversify the plot and use it for housing, small retail shops, and office.

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    • Brad January 8, 2011 at 9:47 am

      The same formula that has worked so very well for Portland: overpriced, poorly constructed urban condos, boutique retail with a 50%+ failure rate ( or yet another Starbuck’s, Subway, Check Cashing Express, Cricket Wireless, etc.), and even more Class A office suites sitting empty. None of those are in short supply right now.

      I’ll argue that Costco actually creates LESS car trips for the typical household. Costco’s bulk quantity packaging on staples and non-perishables means that my family uses our car with less frequency. A monthly trip to Costco allows us to get 75% of our groceries for a 30 day period. What this allows me to do is to make a weekly trip to New Seasons or local farmer’s market ON MY BIKE to pick up some fresh produce and milk. That eliminates at least two trips each week for my wife’s SUV – the short surface street types that also belch the most pollution. Plus, most household Costco trips are on weekends where there is less auto traffic to begin with. Weekdays? Costco is mostly filled with small business owners buying supplies for their concerns. Check it out for yourselves.

      As corporate citizens go, Costco is a very good one as other posters have mentioned above. Most of the small retailers that you seem to favor do not produce many jobs nor can they afford to pay good wages and benefits. Ask around, most of the “cool” local boutiques and coffee shops are paying minimum wage and, if they offer health coverage, only have access to expensive plans that low wage employees likely cannot afford.

      Most of the opposition to this proposal seems to be based on two notions: it potentially disrupts a familiar bike route or it offends someone’s personal anti-capitalist ideology. While I have a certain sympathy for both points-of-view, no one has really quantified these fears. It’s not as if the Rose Quarter was a bike rider’s paradise or recreational open space to begin with.

      If the mayor wants this bad enough, then start banging the drum loudly for a safer, dedicated bike/pedestrian corridor through this area as a condition of the project. I’ll guarantee that a bunch of whining cyclists will not stop this project and we will have to accept whatever through access we get – which isn’t very good currently. Be part of the process or let the process move along without your input-your choice.

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  • Herb Williams January 7, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    this is a bike blog big deal let them move it. they sell bikes

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