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[personal profile] trystinn
The bane of the Bookstore's existence, the idiot chef/partner of the Bay City Bistro, is gone. His restaurant has closed, which is a shame on many levels but we'll not miss him blocking our parking and coming in to scream at us about how important he was. *sigh* Given his behavior, we never recommended him to our customers and had warned him that his horrible reputation was going to bite him in the ass and it finally has. Deliberately harassing your neighbors who have been here for over 4 decades is pretty much a prescription for failure in a small town. Once the Little Old Lady Mafia goes to work and starts spreading rumors that your kitchen was shut down the Board of Health, your death sentence has been handed down.

Every Sunday I come to work, I see more stores boarded up - all with the infamous sign "Two Way is the Only Way for Pioneer Way!" in the windows. The Oak Harbor Town Council, run entirely by folks beholden to the developers, has screwed the independent business owners downtown by voting against the overwhelming protests of town residents and the Downtown Merchants Association. When construction begins is anybody's guess, but it's obvious that by the time it begins downtown Oak Harbor will be a ghost town. Some owners have relocated elsewhere in town, others have moved to independent business-friendly towns down south like Coupeville and Langley (both with thriving pedestrian traffic and local events).

We all have our suspicions, I tend to think there's a dozen corporate entities waiting to swoop down and buy up these old ramshackle buildings, then raze them and put up their box stores all over the place. While a Trader Joe's would be very welcome around here, the cost is far too high.

Date: 2010-03-21 10:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] alfrecht.livejournal.com
It's so upsetting to hear this...

Why does the Highway 20 corridor continue to look more and more like an extension of Aurora/99, while the actual parts of town that have some character and history, like Pioneer, or even Midway, just continue to recede and degrade? It's very sad...

Date: 2010-03-23 03:34 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tryst-inn.livejournal.com
I can't speak for the rest of the towns, but in Oak Harbor we suffer from big fish/little pond syndrome with our horrid politicians. They all want us to be in the big league and we never will be. :(

Date: 2010-03-23 05:12 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] alfrecht.livejournal.com
That's what I meant...It's only Oak Harbor where this is a problem.

Coupeville, Freeland, and even Burlington are fine along the HWY 20 corridor--Freeland has built up (and will continue to) throughout its territory, and it has done so on its own terms, with not a lot of chain stores, and with a distinct and still-very-local feeling to how and where it is expanding. But Oak Harbor just looks like one has been warped into a part of Shoreline or Edmonds along 99 that has too many churches. It's been much worse ever since we moved from there 14 years ago, but it was starting to get to that point even then...

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