Plans for Walgreens pharmacy on NE Sandy Blvd gets neighborhood backlash

Plans for Walgreens pharmacy on NE Sandy Blvd gets neighborhood backlash »Play Video
The pastor of The Rose City Church of the Nazarene on Northeast Sandy Boulevard says his congregation has to move anyway because the building is just too dangerous.

Walgreens plan to build a store and pharmacy drive-thru on Northeast Sandy Boulevard has been met with social media backlash.

The drug store chain could start building in August on the lot where The Rose City Church of The Nazarene now sits.

The pastor of the church confirmed to KATU that Walgreen's made an offer to buy the property, which was never officially up for sale.

Pastor Dan Waits says his congregation can't stay in the building anyway.

"It's dangerous, walls and pipes are crumbling. There are three places we found asbestos, and the utilities alone are costing us thousands of dollars a month," he said.

It may take the kind of corporate dollars Walgreens may have to take over the lot. Waits says anybody who wants it will have to start from scratch, leveling the building and re-doing the parking lot.

Caitlin Shelman, a Roseway neighborhood resident, heard about the sale and posted a question on Facebook: "What do you want to see on the lot?"

"The response was surprising," said Shelman.

Hundreds of people posted their ideas and shared their complaints.

Most didn't have anything against Walgreens in particular but against having another drug store where there are already two pharmacies just a few blocks apart.

Shelman says most people want to see a variety of locally owned businesses.

"Things we can walk and bike to. Something that doesn't bring more traffic to an already busy Sandy Boulevard and near a new and what can be a very confusing intersection."

Under city zoning a drive-thru is allowed on the part of the property off of Sandy.

The south side is zoned single family residential.

There's no indication Walgreens is planning to build homes on the south side of the lot.

Ted Carlston is the vice president of the Roseway Neighborhood Association. He told KATU that his concern was "traffic, number one, and the possibility of something like a four-story apartment complex with no parking going in there."

Reading the comments on Facebook about the sale, Dan Waits was disappointed that no one came to him to find out more about the sale or to offer to help the church stay where it is.

"I understand where he's coming from," said Shelman. "And we did write letters and emails and made phone calls to the church when we heard about the sale, but by then it was a done deal."

The church will be moving the congregation to another building on 82nd Avenue "where there's not a church in the neighborhood" said Waits.

But he's still worried about the many people in the Roseway community who are helped by the church, even though they're not members.

Roseway neighbors are thinking since the building is still standing, that means there's still a chance for another developer to step in or for Walgreens to change its mind about the drive-thru.

The neighbors have been having conversations with city planners and were told some of the city zoning boundaries are being reconsidered.