Community celebrates Lents’ Walmart reopening

Adding a full grocery section was only one of the many things celebrated, when Walmart reopened this outer East Portland store. Take a look …

-1 The new Walmart store at Eastport Plaza has reopened – just in time for Holiday shoppers.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Some groups picketed the newly-reopened Walmart super-store at Eastport Plaza after Thanksgiving Day. But, many of the thousands of shoppers who streamed into the fully- remodeled store had a more positive attitude – marveling at how this merchandise emporium had been revitalized.

The year-long makeover began on August. 1, 2011, and was completed in November, 2012.

  • See our 2010 article in which Walmart executives first revealed their Lents store expansion plans: CLICK HERE.
  • Read how, in 2011, folks who came to a Lents Neighborhood Association meeting got a sneak-peek at the soon-to-be expanded store: CLICK HERE.

Early on November 14, before the store opened for the day, Walmart associates, East Portland Chamber of Commerce (EPCC) members, and folks from community organizations gathered at the front of the store for speeches – and a ceremonial ribbon cutting to officially reopen this store.

Store Co-Manager David Mack greets co-workers and guests.

“We gained 19,000 square feet, and now offer produce, meat, and dairy sections,” Co-Manager David Mack told East Portland News as folks gathered around, just inside the northern set of front doors.

“The store also has deli and bakery sections,” Mack continued.

“This grand reopening is important because people in the neighborhood have told us that these products are something they’ve been waiting for, for a long time. Now, in addition to our other merchandise, we’re able to offer pretty much one-stop shopping in this area.”

Something shoppers appreciate, Mack noted, is “we have a lot of fresh foods from the local area, support a lot of Oregon agricultural products – in addition to bringing in fresh foods from across the country.”

Sales associates gather as the ceremony begins.

This store added 79 positions, between the expansion and Holiday hiring, said Manager Jerome Theriault. “It’s exciting to have the construction over, and show people that there’s produce now where apparel used to be!”

Serving as Master of Ceremonies, Mack called everyone together, standing on a makeshift stage of Pepsi 24-packs.

“We welcome you all here to celebrate, as we reopen this store!” Mack proclaimed.

EPCC President Judy Leach welcomes the store, which is a new member of the Chamber of Commerce.

He invited outgoing EPCC President Judy Leach of Adventist Medical Center to the front.

“We know the community will value the one-stop shopping they’ll find at the store,” Leach said. “They’ll also appreciate the diversity and the choices in shopping that you provide for us.”

Handing the managers a plaque, Leach continued, “On behalf of East Portland Chamber of Commerce, we welcome you as a new Chamber member. We look forward to your involvement, and we thank you for being an integral part of the East Portland.”

Next, with funds from “Walmart Foundation Oregon”, twelve non-profit organizations were presented oversized ceremonial grant checks – ranging in amounts from $500 up to $49,000 – and totaling $93,000

Representatives of the Latino Network accept their $30,000 grant check.

Grants were awarded to:

  • Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office
  • March of Dimes
  • Growing Gardens
  • Make a Wish Foundation
  • Portland Police Sunshine Division
  • Sustainable Urban Neighborhoods (Portland Fruit Tree Project)
  • Cascade Pacific Council Boy Scouts
  • Multnomah Education Service District
  • Oregon Veteran’s Home
  • Latino Network
  • SnowCap Community Charities

Walmart Store Manager Jerome Theriault, and Market Manager Jerry Skinner, give Judy Alley this BIG check benefitting SnowCap Community Charities.

The director of SnowCap Community Charities, Judy Alley, stepped up to the podium, saying that their $49,000 grant will be used to purchase a large drive-in freezer that can be loaded with a forklift.

“This means we can now accept all the frozen foods available to us from the Oregon Food Bank,” Alley said. “We appreciate the support, for all the people who cannot afford to buy their food.”

Following the awards, all that was left was the cutting of the ceremonial ribbon.

Past EPCC President Rich Sorem of Rose City Associates, Walmart managers Jerry Skinner, Jerome Theriault, Chamber President Judy Leach, and Walmart’s David Mack, all gather behind a big red ribbon. With a mighty “snip!” of the giant golden scissors, the new Walmart store is officially reopened.

As the store opened for business, Walmart Store Manager Jerome Theriault said he appreciated the support they’ve received.

“The Lents Neighborhood Association has done an outstanding job supporting the growth of our building, and helping us and become successful in this process,” remarked Theriault.

Store Manager Jerome Theriault shakes hands with Lents Neighborhood Association President Nick Christensen at the grand reopening of the neighborhood store.

On hand was Lents Neighborhood Association President Nick Christensen, who commented, “It’s been great to work with Walmart for the last two years as they’ve gotten this done.”

Lents Neighborhood values reflect Portland values, Christensen added.

“Those include ‘sustainable’, and ‘healthy economy’. Some of things that they did supporting these included adding the side entrance facing SE Holgate Blvd for neighbors who walk and bicycle to the market.

“And, they really worked with us and met our needs for keeping the neighbors around us unbothered by trucks unloading and reloading,” Christensen continued. “They avoided negative tree impacts, planted new trees, and are doing a spectacular job of working with the neighborhood to make this a store that fits into our neighborhood as best as it can.”

Walmart #2552-Portland
4200 SE 82Nd Ave.
(503) 788-0200

© 2012 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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