Walmart forever shutters Eastport Plaza store on March 24

Lents neighbors wonder what can replace the convenience of shopping at this ‘Supercenter’ in the area …

The small banner on the on the Walmart store, on the south side of the Eastport Shopping Center, makes it clear that this store will soon be closed.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

The relatively small white banner with red lettering proclaims “STORE CLOSING”. It hangs on the Walmart Supercenter store in Eastport Plaza. That’s the only way a shopper would know that this retail outlet is closing down – forever.

This Walmart store first opened in 1997. Then, in November 2012, the day the remodeled and enlarged store opened with a full grocery section, the East Portland Chamber of Commerce and Lents Neighborhood Association celebrated with a ribbon cutting ceremony. CLICK HERE to see the photos and read about the Grand Reopening.

On February 22 of this year, a “Notification of Suspension of Production Pursuant to the Worker Adjustment and  Retraining Notification Act of 1988 (WARN),” was posted on the Oregon Rapid Response Activity Tracking System.

In part, the “WARN #8512” notice reads:

“379 employees are impacted at this location. The entire facility will close. Associates were notified regarding the facility’s closure on February 22, 2023. The store will close to the public on 3/24/2023. All employees will be terminated effective June 02, 2023. We expect the employment separations to be permanent.”

Although residents from all over the area shop at this Walmart, it will soon be closed, and never reopen.

On the same day, Walmart also gave the same notice to their employees at their Delta Park store.

Walmart blamed the closure, in part, on poor financial performance. However, on CNBC Television’s “Squawk Box” in December, Walmart’s CEO Doug McMillon commented that their stores were seeing a marked increase in “shrink”, a term that the retail industry uses when a store loses inventory from shoplifting.

Locally, during Portland Police Bureau (PPB) “Retail Theft Missions”, PPB NRT Officer Jordan Zaitz said, “We’re seeing big retailers leave [Portland]; Walmart closed two of its stores; so this is a really big deal. [Residents] in the greater Lents neighborhood, where a store will be closing – this is where they shop, because of the low prices and easy access. Along 82nd Avenue, here on the southeast side, we’ve lost a lot of stores due to theft.”

Shoppers chime in
“Unless you shop in the Woodstock neighborhood, there aren’t many grocery choices in Brentwood-Darlington; and the Walmart is the only ‘superstore’ nearby,” Sandy Pruitt pointed out at an unrelated community meeting. “But, after seeing people dash out of the store with shopping carts full of stuff they’re stealing, it’s no wonder they’re closing it.”

Loyal Walmart shoppers who once shopped here will now need to travel three miles south along S.E. 82nd Avenue of Roses to patronize the Happy Valley store.

“I remember when the Walmart first came here,” Lents neighbor Shirley Greene recalled. “It seemed like the mayor, and a lot of people who didn’t live here, hated Walmart and tried to keep it from opening – but we’ve all loved shopping here, from day one,” she said.

So far, there’s been no indication regarding what may become of the 154,347 sq. ft. commercial property to be vacated. Although it appears to be part of Eastport Plaza, the store is not on Eastport Plaza property; the land on which it’s located is owned by Walmart Real Estate Business Trust, located in Bentonville, AR.

© 2023 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™



Comments are closed.

© 2005-2024 David F. Ashton East PDX News™. All Rights Reserved.