MEDFORD, Ore. — The opening of the new south Medford Walmart comes after about a decade of battles between the Medford City Council, the Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals, special interest groups and even the Supreme Court.
In 2003, Medford residents fought the plan for a couple reasons, including to save Miles Field, but also because of concerns it would be too big at 206,000 square feet. In May of 2004, City councilors agreed voting down the plan, saying it was too big, but soon after the Land Use Board of Appeals, or LUBA, said the city council overstepped it’s bounds.
About a year later, Medford appealed LUBA’s decision. Eventually, in 2005, the two sides agreed to negotiate. Then, in June 2006, the Medford City Council approved the plan to build, saying it was legal. Just a month later, the Medford Citizens For Responsible Development filed an appeal, demanding a traffic study, saying the Walmart’s traffic would negatively affect the area. In May 2008, Walmart conceded to resident’s concerns, reducing the size of the store and agreeing to have the store face south instead of east.
Three years after the Medford Citizens For Responsible Development demanded a traffic study, in June 2009, LUBA ruled the city must conduct the study, but in 2010, the Oregon Supreme Court got involved, ruling the city could accept Walmart’s application to build without that traffic study. Then, after getting the appropriate permits, construction began last year.