November 7, 2010

Landowner balks at trail-to-Trader Joe’s gate

By Edward D. Murphy emurphy@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

PORTLAND - A chain-link fence that cuts off the new Trader Joe's from the Bayside Trail isn't likely to get a gate or other opening, judging by the response of the property owner who erected the fence.

click image to enlarge

The fence separating the Trader Joe’s parking lot from the Bayside Trail has generated complaints from trail users who want pedestrian and bicycle access to the store.

Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer

Peter Quesada, whose Fore River Co. owns the land on Marginal Way, said his company "made a business judgment" to put up the fence between the trail and the store. He declined to say what that business judgment was based on.

The fence has drawn criticism from those who would like to see more of a connection between the trail and Marginal Way businesses as a way of encouraging people to bike or walk to stores and appointments instead of driving.

Quesada's company also owns the land where West Marine, Planet Fitness and the Department of Health and Human Services office building are located. Fences also run along the back -- or trail -- side of those properties, although the lots are bisected by Chestnut Street.

The reason for those fences?

"We made a business judgment," Quesada said.

Quesada said his company has "reserved the right to allow (gates) along that whole section" but "we do not want a gate."

Trader Joe's has tried to make clear that the fence is not its doing.

"Trader Joe's has attempted several times to persuade its landlord to install a gate or pass-through in the fence, to no avail," spokeswoman Alison Mochizuki said in a letter to The Portland Press Herald last week. "The fact that there is no access from the trail to the store site is not Trader Joe's desire; Trader Joe's would prefer an opening for people to access the store from the trail."

Mochizuki said Thursday that the company has conveyed its wishes to Quesada several times. She declined to comment beyond that, saying the company's position is outlined in the letter to the editor.

Those who call the store to complain are given contact information for the Fore River Co.

The city hasn't gotten involved because the fence is on private property and doesn't violate any zoning rules, said spokeswoman Nicole Clegg.

But, like Trader Joe's, the city would like to see an opening between the store and the trail.

"We welcome adjacent properties to the Bayside Trail to open up access" to the walkway, she said.

The Bayside Trail runs for 1.2 miles from the area behind Trader Joe's to the Eastern Prom Trail.

Staff Writer Edward D. Murphy can be contacted at 791-6465 or at:

emurphy@pressherald.com

 

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