A Conversation with Friends of Naomi's Organic Farm Supply and Les Schwab Tire Centers

May 10, 2011 Dear Dave Husk,

 Thank you for your recent reply to many of our letters, dated May 6th, 2011. We’d like to collectively respond to your points for clarification. We have included your full text in bold, and numbered for ease of reading. 1. Thank you for your letter regarding our plans to build a Les Schwab Tire Center on the property located at 2500 SE Tacoma.

 1. The site at 2500 SE Tacoma consists of two separate properties. Your company currently owns the majority of the site Naomi's is on, though not the parking lot and gates which are sub-leased. The proposal you have on record is for a 9,500 square foot tire center on the east end of this neighboring lot which you are in contract to purchase. 2. I apologize I cannot respond to your letter personally,

 2. We understand the challenge when you are getting so many unique, individual letters. Perhaps you could set a date to come to Naomi's shop and meet with customers and neighbors in person. There will be two large events at Naomi’s, May 21st, a Craft & Food Bazaar and May 22nd a Benefit Dinner for the Portland Farmer’s Market Fresh Exchange Program for low income families. Let us know if you would like to speak on one of those dates or another time. We know that other customers have contacted your Marketing, Advertising and PR Dept. and Consultants regarding an innovative site design and cross promotions that would greatly benefit everyone. We welcome conversation with them. 3. but hope the following information will help you understand our long-standing plans for developing the property we temporarily leased to Naomi's Organic Farm Supply, our willingness to consider Naomi's as a possible tenant after the site is developed, and our commitment to serving customers in the greater Portland area.

 3. We did not know you were thinking of a way to keep Naomi’s and would like to know more. As their site is a fully functioning destination for us, what you would like to develop there instead? In terms of long-standing plans, are you in collaboration with SMILE, Southeast Uplift or with the Johnson Creek Watershed Council? 
 We have heard from Sellwood Business Association Board Members that a Les Schwab attorney called the business association upset about the community involvement and development restrictions imposed by the City of Portland. We are curious what has upset him?

 4. In 2009 when we first granted Naomi's request to lease the property, we let them know this would be a temporary 8 month arrangement. We understood Naomi's was seeking a longer term lease but were only able to offer a short term lease while we tried to acquire additional property and develop plans for a retail location for our company. 4. We understand Naomi's proposed purchasing the land they are on and have read the two page letter of ideas for the land they wrote to Les Schwab with their proposal. We know you stated uncertainty regarding what the City would mandate for development if you were able to purchase the McLoughlin acre for development of a tire store. Through your communications with their real estate broker, it was conveyed that if there was room, pending the city’s development needs, something could likely be worked out for them to stay as it would be a very large site.

5. We were glad to be able to provide a temporary place for their business while we worked to prepare the property for construction of a new store. 5. Other than the Early Assistance Appointment Shawn Nguy of PACLAND had with BDS regarding your plans on February 2nd, 2011, there do not seem to be any permits in progress and no Adjustment Land Use Reviews have yet been triggered. Is this correct? Naomi’s team has shown great stewardship of both properties, by working very hard to get the properties clean after decades of debris, improving the nursery’s drainage after years of muck, their plantings, raised beds and paths now absorb the rainwater. It is a vibrant place we all enjoy and want to watch grow and continually get better each year. As for being temporary, it appears to us that both businesses could easily fit on this 2 acre parcel easily and share environmentally progressive parking. Les Schwab has 6 tires stores within the City of Portland, plus one in Milwaukie, 4.6 miles from this site, with lot sizes under 40,000 sq’ down to a petite, thriving 9,400sq’ lot. In fact, this potential Sellwood / Moreland location would be your second largest Portland Area store at 83,504sq’, next to 2410 SE 122nd Ave., which is 87,027sq’ according to Portland Maps and 8.5 miles from this site. Or it could be the 6th largest including the existing McLoughlin store to the south, at 41,042sq’. We have attached your site plan and a spreadsheet of your eleven Metro Portland tire centers and the nearby Milwaukie tire store for lot size inspiration. 6. Over the past 18 months we've continued to invest significant time and money in the development and design process, and extended Naomi's lease several times while they sought a place to relocate. 6. Records show that you extended Naomi's lease one time, after SMILE wrote a letter on their behalf in March of 2010 and then for the single month of May 2011. It is understandable that you have spent significant time and money on your potential development of the other site you’re trying to purchase, but your plans only current conflict with Naomi’s, is the 30 additional parking spaces requested beyond the 20 spaces your automotive use is allowed. This would still need to go through an Adjustment Land Use Review process with the city and neighborhood, stated to be at least 8 to 10 weeks, after petroleum remediation and property purchase. 7. As recently as November of 2010, Naomi shared with us they were actively looking for a new location. 7. We know that they have been actively looking to relocate and we are advocating that they stay right where they are. 8. We have always been completely upfront with Naomi's that our planned use would require the entire site be redeveloped to provide better access and separation of potential uses. 8. Can you clarify ‘better access and separation of potential uses’ further? The proposed site plan on record at BDS shows Naomi’s site broken into three parts: from east to west, the 30 additional parking spaces, not allowed without the review, a .52 acre parcel open for “Potential Future Development,” and .25 acre stormwater facility, which the notes indicate an alternate option is needed for on pg. 5. This contradicts Corporate Counsel David Gibson’s response to one of our emails on April 28th, 2011, “Given the needs of even our smallest stores, and the extraordinary development requirements imposed by the City, we cannot develop our site and maintain their business in any reasonable formulation. There just is not enough room for both businesses on site.”

8.Naomi's has been a great tenant and we were pleased last November to be able to again extend the lease through May in order to help Naomi's make a smooth transition during what we understand are their busiest months of operation. We have also offered to extend the lease again through June, should Naomi's need additional time. 

 8. We appreciate knowing that Naomi's has been a great tenant – we think they are great, too! From what we see at the shop, May is extremely busy for everything this place is about. The sun is coming out and as gardeners and farmers there is a magnetic pull. We asked Naomi’s why they did not take the one month extension after getting your letter. We understand they have not signed due to the wording by Corporate Counsel David Gibson on April 21st, 2011, “This will be the final extension, regardless of what happens with our construction schedule.” And wording in a previous email correspondence from April 4th from David Gibson, which you were cc’ed on and is very negative about receiving at that time, two customer letters that mentioned “a commitment to community friendliness,” and challenges of working with the City of Portland. 9. We plan to begin working on the property in June. 9. If you don’t own the property and it needs to be remediated, can you detail the work that Les Schwab will physically begin on the site in June? 10. Based on current information we need to get started in order to address some historic contamination issues and prepare the site for construction.

 10. What is the current information on the levels of contamination below the asphalt? Will you be able to purchase the site before it is cleaned up? How will this remediation process work to protect the Crystal Springs and Johnson Creek Watersheds? 10. During this time, it would be very difficult for us to have Naomi's retail operation on the property.

 10. Can you clarify why this would be very difficult? According to the DEQ, the contamination (NAPL or free product) is in the far northeast end under and around the footprint of the former gas station, possibly extending under the exit ramp and under McLoughlin / 99E on the opposite side from Naomi’s. It is our understanding that no drilling or samples have been pulled from the area that the shop uses for parking. Since Naomi’s site is not paved, vehicles and equipment couldn’t be parked on it and as it is not contaminated, no remediation work would be done there, what planned uses would necessitate them to be gone by June / July? We mainly park facing west to the gardens and would park on the street and walk in if we needed to. 11. Once we complete construction and development of the property, we are willing to explore with Naomi's a future lease agreement for the remaining property.

 11. This sounds nice, but very challenging to us. Where do you posit Naomi’s shop would be in the interim of the remediation, reviews and construction process? Do you have another site in mind for them? Have you talked to Naomi’s about exploring a future for them on the property? Based on notes from the meeting that Les Schwab just had with Naomi’s staff last week, one of your Legal Counsel, Neil A. Cole, said you plan to ‘grade’ / level the entire urban farm site where Naomi’s is currently located and possibly put in a tire warehouse on the western portion. In regard to construction and development timeline:

a) When is the expected date that you will close on the purchase of this property? b) How long is the remediation expected to take? c) How long do you estimate it will it take for the DEQ to process? d) Once you own the property, what is your estimated timeline for the permit process? e) What is your estimated timeline for physical construction? f) How would you explore an arrangement for Naomi’s to come back from wherever they would go. We have offered our backyards, but sadly this wouldn’t quite work… Many businesses stay in place during construction, customers are accommodating, this is the nature of living in a city. 12. Naomi's is the kind of business we would be proud to have as a long term tenant if the site design, access, and costs work for all parties. 

 12. Again, this sounds positive, yet we are confused about these three points. In your Early Assistance Appointment you mention the idea of an eco-roof. Naomi’s sells books about green roofs, seeds and plants for people to use. We think this is a really exciting idea for your store and don’t know another tire center with plants growing on the roof. Permeable paving is wonderful, too. We love it! As far as cost, based on reports about your company, we feel that mentions of costs may be irrelevant. From an article about your company in 2007, “…the company has 410 retail tire stores across the Western U.S., employs 7,700 and generates $1.6 billion in sales, selling 6 million truck and car tires. Les Schwab Tires is privately held, adds 20 new stores a year and pays for them in cash.” http://www.joesherlock.com/Schwab.html The letterhead you wrote us on states, “The West’s Largest Independent Tire Dealer With Over 420 Locations in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, California, Nevada, Utah, and Alaska.” In reading your corporate literature it is easy to visualize the small company that the man, Les Schwab, created 60 years ago and see what it has grown to as a corporation today. Selling Naomi’s the site they’re on would provide you with $450,000 to put towards a one acre tire center on McLoughlin / 99E and offset other design issues. There are 11 Les Schwab Tire Centers that we found just within the City of Portland and at least 15 closely surrounding the city. There is only one Naomi's, and it started much like Les started his first store. 
 13. One of Les Schwab's most important goals is to serve our customers in the communities where they work and live.

13. It is highly admirable that you have that mission as a corporation! Many national chains do not share this caring corporate ethic. You will continue to fulfill that pledge by building tire centers that are appropriate for the communities in which they are located. For this community and your customers, you can easily serve both to the fullest, by having Naomi’s as your neighbor. The tremendous support you’ve heard from the Sellwood, Moreland, Ardenwald, Johnson Creek neighborhoods along with the Portland Metro area and well beyond strongly favors this way for you to serve us. Naomi’s has proven to be valuable to tourism and the economy of their fellow businesses in the Sellwood & Moreland neighborhoods in the April 2011 Sunset Magazine profile, One Perfect Day in Portland’s Sellwood Neighborhood http://www.sunset.com/travel/northwest/day-trip-portland-sellwood-neighborhood-00418000071423/ -

Gardeners' HQ: Compost, tools, and seeds are just the beginning: Naomi's Organic Farm Supply will help you become the urban homesteader you've always wanted to be. On land owned by the local tire store, you'll find miniature goats, chicks, and demonstration garden classes. A city oasis transformed by Naomi Montacre, husband Neil, and mom Mary. Classes from $10, 2500 S.E. Tacoma St., 503/517-8551. Similarly, they were featured in an article on this city’s renowned food culture in the May 2011 Cooking Light article, Portland’s Food Rules - http://www.cookinglight.com/healthy-living/travel/portland-food-scene-00412000071132/ It is a lengthier piece you can read online, about food carts, urban livestock and farming, local food and drink artisans. Full list of Naomi’s press, including USA Today & CBS News - http://naomisorganic.blogspot.com/2009/03/about.html 14. As you may know, Oregon is our home state, and we look forward to being a great community partner to our growing customer base in Southeast Portland. 

 14. This further affirmation of your corporate mission is very meaningful to us. You can continue being a truly great community partner by listening and working with the people who are communicating with you. Are any of your customers advocating for a bigger parking lot or Naomi’s to go? It would garner endless positive press and strengthen customers’ loyalty. Portland's food culture is strong. Your customer base in Southeast Portland will only grow if you show them that you are a company that truly listens and cares. This experience will easily strengthen your well respected brand and known ethics. Win-win for all. Several customers and vendors of Naomi's who knew or met Les have stated that this would be quickly workable for both parties if Les was still with us. While this may seem to be a quaint assumption, it is tightly linked to his vision, which is promoted in your posters, diversity programs, and the fun customer service focused commercials. One of Naomi's soil delivery drivers used to deliver hay to Les and remembers him fondly. Another customer’s family was friends with and attended the same church as Les in Prineville. Friends of the shop in Iowa are neighbors with Marty Carver of Bandag, Inc., who knew Les well. You have not only the local neighborhoods watching to see what unfolds - but also attention extending throughout the greater Portland metro area out to the Coast and up into Washington, out into the Gorge and through the Willamette Valley into Southern Oregon and out of state. Customers of both Naomi’s and Les Schwab are tuned in hoping Les Schwab is truly “doing the right thing” for their greater community. Thank you for taking the time to engage in this conversation and for considering developing on the 41,042sq’ site that you are in contract to purchase and selling the adjacent parcel to Naomi’s for a permanent site for our community. Please know that our letters, phone calls and emails will continue and we look forward to sending many thanks and singing your praises for many decades to come.

 Kind regards, 
 Friends of Naomi's Organic Farm Supply in Oregon & Washington

Les Schwab Tire Centers’ Portland locations with lot sizes and mileage to Naomi's Organic Farm Supply* 1) 2) 3) 4) 5) 6) 7) 8) 9) 10) 11) 12) 2410 SE 122nd Ave. 4105 SE Powell Blvd. 2140 NE Columbia Blvd. 12110 NE Erin Way 16650 SE Division St. 8910 SW Barbur Blvd 16685 SE McLoughlin Blvd 5510 N Lombard St 2010 NE 82nd Ave. 1210 NW 19th Ave 633 NE Broadway 2952 NE Sandy Blvd. 87,027 sq. foot lot 76,372 sq. foot lot, shared with Jiffy Lube Store 62,848 sq. feet lot (zoned General Industrial 2) 60,839 sq. foot lot (zoned General Industrial 2) 53,578 sq. foot lot 40,000 sq. foot lot 34,566 sq. foot lot in Milwaukie, OR 20,165 sq. foot lot 16,578 sq. foot lot 15,124 sq. foot lot 12,350 sq. foot lot 9,400 sq. foot lot 8.5 mi 4.1 mi 9.5 mi 12.5 mi 10.6 mi 4.3 mi 4.6 mi 10.9 mi 8.7 mi 6.7 mi 5.6 mi 6.7 mi (503) 255-0602 (503) 788-0576 (503) 289-4559 (503) 252-3823 (503) 760-0372 (503) 244-3200 (503) 652-1900 (503) 289-1956 (503) 257-8571 (503) 227-3541 (503) 282-3660 (503) 231-8290

Proposed Development of 5 lots: 2500 SE Tacoma at SE McLoughlin

83,504 sq. foot lot in Sellwood with room to share with Naomi's

Email quote to customer from David Gibson, Corporate Counsel, Les Schwab Tire Centers on April 28th, 2011 "Given the needs of even our smallest stores, and the extraordinary development requirements imposed by the City, we cannot develop our site and maintain their business in any reasonable formulation. There just is not enough room for both businesses on site."
*Information on lot sizes per www.portlandmaps.com and distances per maps.google.com