In Wednesday’s paper there was a big writeup on what the city had accomplished in 2017 and it got me to thinking. What does Pendleton need to bring it back to life besides more housing? Well here’s my list, and I think it’s a good one:
Growing up in Pendleton we had two menswear stores besides Hamley’s and The New York Store, now we have none. Businessmen have to go out of town for a suit or even a dress shirt. We also had many womenswear stores including JC Penny, The Bon Marche (now Macy’s) Mode O’Day (now Fashion Bug, I think), The Frances Shop, Dawn’s, Lucille’s and Sidney’s Pink Poodle, and now we have nothing but Maurices and Walmart, neither of which sell business attire for women.
We also had six car dealerships, not including Ray Fane who sold imports like Toyota, Vauxhalls and others foreign cars, and now we have none. We have a perfectly good building on the corner of 10th and Dorion for a car dealer to move into that has a shop space and showroom space already built. We also have another building sitting empty on Southeast Court that was built as a car dealership that is available to buy, and it even has a detail shop and a body and fender shop. What about approaching Legacy out of La Grande about putting in a Ford dealership selling new and used Fords, or find a GMC dealership who has this area to put in GMC, Chevrolet and Buick in so that people who live in Pendleton can spend their car buying money in Pendleton instead of going to Walla Walla or the Tri-Cities?
I don’t think that it is out of line to propose that a citizens committee be formed to explore the possibilities of getting some of these businesses back in Pendleton and make Pendleton the place to shop rather than it being the place where there is nothing to buy. I am willing to work on that committee and I am willing to bet that there are others out there that are, too. We need to bring Pendleton back to the vibrant business community it was in the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s and now is prime time to get the ball rolling.
Barbara Ann Wright