Plans to establish an indoor marijuana growing operation and a retail outlet in the Railroad District have sparked opposition. While residents' questions should be answered before the project is allowed to proceed, some of the objections appear to stem from opposition to the very idea of a marijuana business, which is a legal industry in Oregon.
The former Oak Street Tank and Steel building at the corner of Oak and A streets most recently housed Plexis Healthcare Systems, whose CEO filed the application for the marijuana venture as the building owner. Before Plexis, the building housed a number of retail businesses under the name A Street Marketplace.
Opponents have questioned the project's effect on traffic, water usage, odor and a "negative effect on livability, tourism and housing values."
The applicants say they will install odor control measures modeled on Colorado, which legalized recreational marijuana in 2012.
A staff report said the business would increase traffic, but a growing operation with a single retail outlet shouldn't generate any more traffic than the multiple businesses in the A Street Marketplace, or the 100 Plexis employees who once worked there.
The city says it can supply the business's water needs. Wastewater might need to be pre-treated, but growing plants require water. Paying drinking-water rates while outdoor competitors use irrigation sources should provide ample incentive to conserve.
The project offers jobs, in a building that has sat empty for a year. If the applicants can satisfy the city's concerns, they should be allowed to proceed.