This month’s Tidbits is also available in the Sellwood Bee’s “Letters to the Editor”. If you care about our Sellwood, please share this letter with everyone you know!
Tom Dwyer Automotive Services is a proud independent business with a 30-year history in Sellwood. Like most other small businesses, we try to be a true neighbor by not just serving our clients but supporting neighborhood schools, organizations, events, and causes. In particular we have a long history of promoting “buying local” to create strong local economies. We think spending money with our neighbors helps our neighbors, provides the local and responsive services we need, and localizes economic power to build vibrant communities that benefit everyone. Our Sellwood neighborhood is a shining example of that “buy local” philosophy in action, but I’m writing because I see a threat to all we’ve built together here. On the other hand, I also see a solution.
The Sellwood we love is a tree-shaded paradise of homes, businesses, and parks, but the proliferation of high-occupancy apartments means construction, parking, and traffic problems for residents and businesses alike. Neighborhoods need close-by, available businesses and services just as much as trees and parks, but unrestrained building is forcing out many of the local businesses Sellwood depends on. Once these businesses leave it may be impossible to bring them back. Portland is allowing this building boom, at least in part, to create affordable housing in walkable neighborhoods. Unfortunately, it makes little sense to build high-occupancy housing under the assumption that people won’t need cars, and then deprive the neighborhood of the products and services they need within walking distance. It defeats the goals of the City’s plan, and will turn Sellwood into little more than a “bedroom community” for Portland.
If that’s the threat, what’s the solution? The most effective long-term fix would change the way the City of Portland handles construction, planning and zoning, but that’s too slow to help businesses struggling right now. The biggest thing we can do, something that will help RIGHT NOW, is for Sellwood neighbors to SUPPORT THEIR LOCAL BUSINESSES! Almost any product or service is available within a mile of Sellwood, so explore your LOCAL options, pick one, and go give them a try! The Sellwood-Westmoreland Business Alliance has a list of Sellwood businesses of all types to choose from. They’ll appreciate your business and you’ll appreciate the convenience and personal service they provide. We’ll all appreciate them if they’re forced to leave!
Tom Dwyer Automotive and the other local businesses of our neighbors, families, and friends want to be here for Sellwood’s future, but ALL our local businesses depend on local patronage. That patronage has never been more important than now, as change and growth squeeze us all. We don’t have to lose what makes our neighborhood great, but keeping it demands our conscious choice and effort. Take time to treat yourself to one of the hundreds of businesses that makes Sellwood everything we love. We’re all here for you today, and with your support, we’ll all be here for you tomorrow.
Take Care and Make a Great Day!