OR: Another Pot Shop Chooses Downtown

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A sixth marijuana store is coming to Astoria.

Portland-based Tidewater Retail Inc. is planning to open a retail shop on Commercial Street in the space that now houses Garbo’s Vintage Wear.

Case Van Dorne, a co-owner with Tidewater, said the company is designing a 2,000- to 5,000-square foot dispensary. The company will lease the location from Donald Sloan, who also owns the building directly to the east that houses the Deals Only thrift store.

“We’ve been looking at the coast for a while and wanting to expand our reach to the coastal region,” Van Dorne said.

He said he sees the dispensary fitting well with coffee shops, breweries and other nearby businesses.

Tidewater owns two dispensaries in Portland called Five Zero Trees, although Van Dorne said he and his partners have not decided what to call the Astoria store.

Van Dorne said his company’s model is different than other dispensaries, focusing on a small number of high-quality growers and producers. “We take the small farm-to-table approach,” he said.

With all the licensing, build-out and security requirements, he said the soonest the new store could open would be early next year.

“These guys are a first-class outfit,” Sloan said of his new tenants, adding the dispensary will be better for downtown and the economy than Garbo’s.

“They hire people,” he said. “They pay better than average wages. Nobody there makes minimum wage.”

Tidewater’s will be the sixth marijuana retail store in Astoria. Sweet Relief Natural Medicine has locations in downtown and on Portway Street. Nature’s Choice Alternative Medicine has a location in Uniontown, along with Hi Casual Cannabis. The Farmacy is located in Uppertown.

Too many?

Lynn Hadley, the owner of Garbo’s, told the Astoria City Council Monday that she has to vacate to make room for the marijuana retailer.

“While I don’t pretend to be ignorant to the money being made in the marijuana sales and the state benefits in collecting the sales tax, I do wonder how many pot shops can be sustained in a small town, and how the charm factor will be maintained as boutiques give way to more marijuana stores,” Hadley said.

Community Development Director Kevin Cronin said selling marijuana is treated as retail services, an outright permitted use in downtown commercial zones, meaning Tidewater’s operation will not come before the Planning Commission.

City Councilor Cindy Price would prefer some restrictions on the number and location of marijuana stores.

“I would be in favor of restricting the number myself, because I think it just gets a little crazy, but it’s Astoria, it’s the Wild West,” Price said, commiserating with Hadley. “I’ve asked about this earlier. There’s not any traction, really, on the council for that. Sorry, I love your shop (Garbo’s).”

Asked about Hadley’s comments Thursday, Sloan said he gave her 90 days to vacate, even though she was on a month-to-month lease, and that he had charged her significantly below-market rent.

News Moderator: Katelyn Baker
Full Article: Another Pot Shop Chooses Downtown
Author: Edward Stratton
Contact: (503) 325-3211
Photo Credit: Edward Stratton
Website: The Daily Astorian