In 1989, the Blue Mountain Mall shopping center opened its doors along Rose Street in Walla Walla. In a time of massive change in economies, the growth of globalization and consumerism, and the rise of commercial zones outside the traditional downtown shopping corridors of cities, the project to bring large destination stores fit right in. For people in town, the mall became somewhat of a gathering point and did indeed feature large department stores like Sears, Fred Meyer, and Shopko. But for a variety of reasons, in less than 20 years, it died, with only a shell of stores remaining. By 2012, the parent company had gone bankrupt and the facility fell into a long process of auctions, failed development, and (from the perspective of locals) broken promises.
The mall has recently hit headlines for Walla Walla again with new predictions of development. Kris, Alex, and Jenn discuss commerce, the built environment, hope, and quite a few other things in between on this episode. To learn more about the history of the mall, we recommend the wikipedia entry on it. A photo blog by Joe Drazan portrays what the mall looked like just before it closed down for good (one of those photos is featured below): click here.