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Walmart signs The Dalles lease

Walmart has signed a 99-year lease for property at the west end of The Dalles to house a 150,000 square foot super center.

Also filed Friday with Wasco County Clerk Linda Brown were conditions related to development of a shopping center on the property near the Chenoweth interchange.

As part of the lease agreement, Walmart has the power to approve or deny any business that wants to set up shop in the new shopping center. The company holds an option to purchase the 21-acre property during the life of the lease.

The list of buildings likely to be approved includes financial institutions, service shops, offices, retail stores and a hotel. On the prohibition list are cafeterias, theatres, bowling alleys, billiard parlors, night clubs or other places of recreation or amusement. Also forbidden are child care facilities, pubs, a dispensary for medical marijuana, membership warehouse clubs, pharmacies or other discount department stores.

The documents submitted to the county also include a mitigation plan for nine acres of wetlands.

That plan has been signed off on by the Oregon Division of State Lands and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, setting the stage for Walmart to obtain a permit.

The permit issued by state and federal regulators will be necessary before work plans can be finalized and a building permit sought.

“Progress continues on our new store to serve The Dalles, Wasco County and residents along the gorge, and our planning toward construction is ongoing with all relevant state and federal agencies,” said Rachel Wall, spokesperson for Walmart.

John Nelson is the spokesperson for Citizens for Responsible Development, which is opposed to Walmart’s development on property zoned for commercial and industrial use. In late March, he said until the group sees the analysis done by federal and state agencies to outline the permit conditions, they do not know whether an appeal or court challenge of the mitigation plan will be sought.

“We hope that the Corps has fully addressed all of the substantive and procedural issues that were raised by the Environmental Protection Agency, National Marine Fisheries Service, CRG and many other local citizens,” he wrote in a statement at the time.

“We expect that if the Corps has done so, there will be additional work for the city to do in the land-use arena. To be frank, CRG and its members remain skeptical that a permit issuance will be adequately conditioned to protect this important local resource. However, we will have to review the decision documents in detail before deciding whether to file a legal challenge to them.”

In January, Citizens lost its court challenge of the state Department of Environmental Quality’s approval of Walmart’s development plan on the parcel. The appeal hearing took place in Marion County because that is the location of Salem, the state capital, and the decision of a state agency was being disputed.

Walmart’s proposal, which was approved by the City of The Dalles, has been held up for three years by regulatory challenges related to the protection of small seasonal water pools in recesses on the rocky property.

To compensate for the loss of wetlands under the building and eight-acre parking lot, the company has proposed to create two small and one large wetland.

In addition, Walmart has agreed to enhance habitat on the property that was degraded by prior excavation and the placement of fill material.

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