Letters to the Editor

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TACOMA: How much more stuff do we need?

Letter by Bea Dixon, Tacoma on Aug. 17, 2012 at 11:03 am with 20 Comments »
August 17, 2012 11:55 am

Two weeks ago, I attended a meeting in the building at South Union and 26th streets. I love the conference room there because its large windows face out on a row of tall, stately evergreens, maybe 15 or so in total.

They sway beautifully, they are very lush, and they are home to a colony of little yellow birds that playfully flutter about.

That day, however, tragedy struck. Bulldozers moved toward the trees, dug deep holes around the roots to force the trees to topple, then carried them to a large shredder. By the end of the meeting, all the trees were gone.

“They are building a Walmart,” said a colleague.

What? Another Walmart? What about the Target down the street, Costco, the Tacoma Mall and the Home Depots? Do we really need another store?

We do? OK, then why can’t those trees just stay there alongside the new building, with picnic benches for weary shoppers to enjoy their shade and point out those little yellow birds to their children?

The destruction was painful to watch. I walked out of the meeting with a heavy heart. As I stepped into
the parking lot, I was struck by a heavy scent of pine resin that hung in the air.

I realized that it came from the trees that had just been felled. I took in some deep breaths, very conscious that this scent was their last contribution to this neighborhood.

These fallen giants continue to live in my heart.

Leave a comment Comments → 20
  1. Walmart does not care about trees. Mrs. Walmart has one of the worlds largest and most valuable private art copllections. That is what she cares about.

  2. It’s a good thing we solved all of the other REAL problems in this nation so we can worry about a couple of trees.

    Hopefully, those trees will warm some nice homes this winter with roaring fires. What a waste of time.

  3. thisyoungvet says:

    And yet people continue to think that Walmart is going to be good for our community, and are welcoming it! And yet there is a Walmart a few miles away in Lakewood and in University Place. There is a Target also in Lakewood, and next to this new Walmart. Fred Meyer is just a few blocks away are are two large box stores, Home Depot and Lowes. The American Dream is fading fast and it is because of places such as Walmart. I don’t disagree we need jobs, but minimum wage or barely above minimum wage jobs is not the answer. This country was founded on the idea that you could work hard and make it, but with Walmart you can work hard for years and years and NEVER make it. Why? Because the 6 members of the Walton family own more wealth than 1/3 of the ENTIRE population of this country and yet the vast majority of their employees are eligible for at least one form of government assistance. So those are the jobs we are encouraging? We welcomed this corporation to this city and now we get to reap the negative consequences that will come with it. We can only blame ourselves because the tree’s might go now but they are only the first of many wonderful things to go. Sad day for Tacoma.

  4. NakedRat says:

    So Ms. Dixon, under which rock have you been hiding in the last few months? We all knew about WalMart’s plan to build a store at the old Elks property for quite some time now. If you had been more alert, you would have known about it and possibly testified at one of those City Council meetings.

    I hate WalMart myself, but there is no denying that Tacoma is home to a lot of poor people who really like shopping at Wally World. And if the commercials are to be believed, you can apparently buy pretty good tasting steaks there, too. Who would have thought that blasphemy!

  5. SwordofPerseus says:

    Mrs. Dixon,

    Don’t you know that you can never have too much useless Chinese kitsch and crap? Americans that flock to wall mart are the saddest people on this earth. There is a vision of the future, a little robot all alone compacting billions of tons of refuse, mountains of discarded junk. Wall-E!

  6. itwasntmethistime says:

    I’m still waiting for a valid argument explaining how Walmart is going to increase tax revenue.

  7. alindasue says:

    While I do agree that way too many trees are sacrificed for the sake of development, I can’t help but wonder how many of the people responding here would care any more than Walmart does about those trees if it were a another store or even the medical complex that had been proposed (but money never materialized for) that was being built?

    As it was, that stand of trees was probably the only stand of trees on the property. Most of the trees that shaded the Elk’s building parking lot and property seemed to have been cut down years ago.

    I too am sad that those trees were cut down, but the sad fact is that almost any developer would have done the same thing.

  8. mahinaokeiki says:

    I’m doing my part to make sure trees are getting planted.

  9. alindasue says:


    I am also planting trees and encouraging others to do likewise.

    We, as a society have become too consumer oriented. It’s not just the “Walmarts” of the world that are the problem, but the feeling that Americans in general have that we constantly need to have more. Whether you buy it at Walmart or you buy it at Costco or Macy’s isn’t really the issue.

  10. Why do Liberals hate Walmart? Is this not a company that employs many thousands of people? What is the corporate sin here? Please explain in detail what the “Evil Walmart” has done to contribute to the fall of humanity.

    These are all questions I have.

  11. tree_guy says:

    Bea, let me see if I understand your point. You love sitting in a conference room looking at the trees and were dismayed to see the trees being cut down.

    You do understand the irony of your comment don’t you? Just 10 or 20 years ago the conference room you were watching from didn’t exist. The building wasn’t even there. It was just a lot with a stand of trees on it. If THOSE trees weren’t cut down, you couldn’t be sitting in a conference room.

    The tree cutting doesn’t have anything to do with Wal Mart’s business practices. If Greenpeace or the Sierra Club was building an office complex they’d be taking out those trees too.

  12. averageJose says:

    What was the meeting about Bea?

  13. daggercat says:

    I’m more disturbed by the loss of habitat for the birds! And come on people, Bea was just expressing the sadness she felt that something so beautiful and pleasing was now gone. Oh, and I don’t and never will shop at Wal-Mart. I don’t care for some of their business practices.

  14. Possibly the silliest letter of the year.

  15. RegisteringFool says:

    Geez! What a bunch of blowhards! And where did anybody get the idea that it was only liberals who hate Walmart, and hate what it (and other companies like it–including most fast-food chains) has done. The only event even roughly comparable in its impact on American life is the construction of the Interstate Highway system. We are being homogenized as a culture–forced to choose only among lousy products that break easily and are cheaper to replace than to repair. As if there is any question why our landfills are overloaded.

    Sure, there is the capitalist if-it-makes-money-do-it argument, but that argument surely makes no headway when the product under discussion is methamphetamine. While it is not my place to decide what people do with their money, the fact remains that Walmart sells mostly toys and trinkets from China that most people could easily do without. And even conservatives must be concerned that so much American money is going to China through companies like Walmart.

    Let’s face it. Going to Walmart is like putting on dirty socks. That’s NOT exactly what I want in my neighborhood.

  16. dankuykendall says:

    If people didn’t shop at Walmart, it would go out of business. When Walmart came to Yelm, Many of our more liberal citizens had “I don’t shop at Walmart” stickers on their cars. But you know what? Many of those same stickers can/could be seen coming and going from the Walmart parking lot. Walmart is in my neighborhood and I do not see any problems that have been created by them.
    The problems were already there in the neighborhood before that Walmart was even on the planning board. Want to blame someone, blame the residents, blame the city, blame the police,blame the county, or blame the state as it makes more sense.

  17. And mom and pop stores would sell American made goods? You make no sense.

    Want US made goods? Enable and encourage manufacturing here. Control the EPA. Fix the tax code. Cheap energy. Tort reform.

  18. alindasue says:

    RegisteringFool said, “…the fact remains that Walmart sells mostly toys and trinkets from China that most people could easily do without.”

    Over half the merchandising that drives our economy is stuff we can do without, if you really think about it. We really are too much of a consumer society.

    It’s not what Walmart and other department stores, fast food joints, etc have done to us. It is what we have done to ourselves by being all too willing to consume.

    I don’t shop in Walmart often, but I freely admit that I have shopped in there before and probably will again. There’s at least as much “made in America” merchandise in Walmart as there is in just about any other store I’ve shopped in. Even some of the people at the local farmers markets sell merchandise made in other countries, including China, as does the “mom & pop” convenience store down the street.

    It’s not a matter of staying away from any particular store, but what choices we make once we are in the stores.

  19. RegisteringFool says:

    Yes, America is a consumer culture. And that is not entirely the merchant’s fault. For every transaction there has be a willing buyer as well as a willing seller. And far be it from me to invoke the imprimatur of government to interfere with what is otherwise a voluntary association. That, perhaps, was the unspoken part of my lament.

    And yet we put up with the trashing of our communities by glorifying the commonplace and the banal. And we put up with the trashing of our communities because, well, I don’t know why we do it. Keeping up with the Jones? Not so much any more, I think. For the momentary “rush” having something new and shiny? Maybe so. But the result is a throw away culture in which more than broken appliances and plastic bottles go to the dump. Without getting too philosophical I think it is easy to see that there is very little permanence in anything any more, from garden tools to jobs to, yes, even marriages.

    No doubt somebody will say, “Hey! This is the 21st century! Either get on the bus or get run over!” My whole point is that this is a bus that perhaps we should not be taking.

    Walmart or Target, or even Sears. I try to avoid them all, and go only when there is no other option. There is literally a wealth of fine quality merchandise at the various thrift stores around town, if one only has the time and patience to keep looking. Just last week I was able to find a brand new, never opened package of bed sheets and pillow cases at the 19th and Mildred Value Village for $7.00. A week before that I found two nearly new and easily sharpened Henckels kitchen knives for $2.00 each. Right now I am wearing a JC Penney dress shirt that I bought, with the original tags still on it, for $5.00.

    If more people shopped in this fashion our landfills would not be nearly so full, and there is a good chance that Walmart would not be the behemoth that it is today, and it would not be chopping down trees that will take several decades to replace.

  20. alindasue says:


    There’s an old saying:
    Reuse it
    Wear it out
    Make it do
    Or do without

    That saying may not be trendy but like a basic black suit, its style is timeless.

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