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HOOD RIVER, OR-Cities in Western Oregon are apparently figuring out how to legally keep Wal-Mart out of their communities. In the latest rebuff for the retailing giant, the Oregon Land Use Board of appeals last week upheld a Hood River County decision denying Wal-Mart’s plans to build a new store here because the store would be out of scale with surrounding structures. The denial comes on the heels of denials for Wal-Mart stores in two other northwest Oregon cities, Hillsboro and Oregon City.Wal-Mart wants to replace its existing 75,000-sf store in Hood River with a 186,600-sf superstore. If eventually built, the store would be 17 times larger than any other building in the immediate area. Wal-Mart says it has not yet decided whether to appeal the LUBA decision to the Oregon Court of Appeals.Wal-Mart has not had much success in front of the Oregon Court of Appeals. Earlier this month, it upheld a LUBA decision affirming a City of Hillsboro denial of the retailer’s plans to build its first store in that community. Among other things, LUBA said Wal-Mart failed to produce accurate projections of the traffic impacts of its proposed development and did not explore development alternatives that would have retained two groves of sequoia trees. The building’s lack of windows along one side of the building and the positioning of the loading dock too close to a sidewalk also were mentioned in the board’s decision. Also in July, Oregon City handed down its second rejection of Wal-Mart’s plans in the community. In its first attempt last year, the retailer was not able to obtain the zone change it needed, as the city commissioners voted unanimously to deny it. Four months ago, it filed a new application for a new site in the city that wouldn’t require a zone change, meaning it wouldn’t need approval from either the planning commission or the city commissioners, just administrative approval from community development director Dan Drentlaw. Drentlaw ultimately denied the application, saying the applications were practically identical and, according to city code, an applicant must wait a year before submitting a “substantially similar” proposal. Wal-Mart appealed Drentlaw’s decision to the city commissioners, who upheld the decision. Wal-Mart has not yet appealed that decision to LUBA.

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