Monday, February 20, 2012

Hawthorne Safeway update and please stop "Pre-Selecting" me for stuff

The gigantic monstrosity up the street (otherwise known as Safeway) is well on its way to re-opening to the public soon. The previous building was set back on the property and a mere 33.000 square feet. This new "Lifestyle" format store will be 55,00 square feet, up against the sidewalk, and is a part of a larger marketing plan aimed at rebranding Safeway as the "Lifestyle" store. 

 The pictures below were taken a couple of weeks ago. 

SE 27th to the right, SE Hawthorne on the left.

Looking east on SE Hawthorne at SE 27th.
This entity is huge! It encompasses the whole block. It seems as if it's being put together with shoddy materials and sub-par workmanship, sprayed polystyrene and tattered sheets of plastic flapping in the wind all winter long. Whenever I look at the progress I find corners or seams that don't quite meet, spots where they didn't get the paint quite in or bricks set a little off. Another annoying outcome of this project is the amount of heavy equipment and personnel in and out of this area for the past year. It has been too much for this quiet Hawthorne neighborhood.

There was one day a few months ago when I was really sick and stayed home from work. All I wanted to do was sleep off the nausea but that proved to be impossible--some gigantic doomsday machine was generating a bassy, thudding, soul crushing noise. The magnitude of the impact from the pounding was enough to rattle the pictures and other decor on my walls.
Tattered plastic blowing in the breeze...
I am kind of curious to see what the inside looks like because I can't believe they'd have high ceilings and add height in favor of wasted space. This "new and improved" Safeway is easily the largest building in this immediate area--the next largest probably being the Fred Meyers further down (at SE 39th and Hawthorne). I don't think this neighborhood has seen a population growth that could support and additional 20,000 square feet of grocery and retail items. For that matter, I can't imagine the previous Safeway store design had enough sales to support it.

What's with the little windows placed in the big window space? 
Many neighbors have concerns about how a store this size will affect the neighborhood--increased traffic, safety/visibility issues, area livability and more. My neighbor Rosemary often gardens out front and noted that when she looks up the street the new Safeway "is blotting out the sun."

Just for perspective, here is a "before" picture:

This photo came from the Oregonian article "Southeast Portland: More on the Hawthorne Safeway closure."

I took this picture last summer and applied a color extraction filter. The area to the right is currently filled in by the Safeway construction effort. The tree and shrubs have been long gone

I know it's a little premature to make a judgement but I feel like I'm not going to like the new Safeway. I don't like how they seem presumptuous; I think the store design is ugly and while they think their produce and bakery items are higher quality and attractive to shoppers, to me it just means that they are average. If I want high quality, I go to New Seasons or a farmers market. Usually I plan on eating with the seasons and what's relatively local for us, I don't need my grapes shipped up from Chile thanks. I try to keep it on this side of the equator. 

On a completely different note, I've been getting weird solicitation junk mail a few times a week where the claim is that I've "been pre-selected" for whatever supposedly awesome thing they have going on. Just last Thursday I got a Dish network something-or-other in the mail that pre-selected me for something extra awesome in comparison to what they normally offer and/or do. Now, if Dish really did some intuitive marketing and researched their potential audience, they would know that I don't have any cable and don't own a TV. 

I also get the "pre-selected" for loans from local payday loan places. Like I would ever get a loan from these crooks! The outrageous amount of interest they charge is absolutely predatory. They mail this shit out and it looks like a real live check made out to the effect of $5,000-- or something. What if some tweaker intercepts mail like that?!Is this something they can take and commit identity theft with? I don't know how to get off of these lists. I would have to say I receive three "pre-selected" solicitations a week. I would try to opt out of whatever marketing machine is responsible, however my fear is that there is such an involved process to remove yourself from "the list" that you inadvertently put yourself on their radar in doing so.

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