Neighbors Against Bethany Lake Gas Station

Table of Contents

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About Us

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There is a proposed gas station adjacent to Bethany Lake and wetlands. We are organizing to stop this development for environmental, traffic, and economic reasons.

Summary of the Proposal

For more details see the Application Documents below.

Site Photos

Vegetated corridor current
Vegetated corridor proposed
Impervious surfaces
Fuel tank location
Title 13 Inventory Map

These site photos are taken from the Application Documents.

Property Zoning

The property to be developed is zoned Neighborhood Commercial which the Washington County Community Development Code defines:

311 NEIGHBORHOOD COMMERCIAL DISTRICT

311-1 Intent and Purpose

The purpose of the Neighborhood Commercial District is to allow small to medium sized shopping and service facilities and limited office use in Neighborhood Commercial Centers. This District is intended to provide for the shopping and service needs of the immediate urban neighborhood. Neighborhood Commercial locations should be easily accessible by car and foot from neighborhoods in the area. Centers should have minimal negative impact on surrounding residential properties.

Objections

There are a variety of objections that community members have raised to this particular development.

Zoning Purpose

Government Regulators: Washington County

The applicant’s property is zoned Neighborhood Commercial with the Intent and Purpose from the code being:

The purpose of the Neighborhood Commercial District is to allow small to medium sized shopping and service facilities and limited office use in Neighborhood Commercial Centers. This District is intended to provide for the shopping and service needs of the immediate urban neighborhood. Neighborhood Commercial locations should be easily accessible by car and foot from neighborhoods in the area. Centers should have minimal negative impact on surrounding residential properties.

A requirement of this zoning is a setback of 20 feet on the front and side (S311-6). However, the applicant is asking for a variance or exception to the county rules. The applicant’s reasoning for requesting a hardship variance from the County is included in the “Narrative” application document:

a smaller building footprint would significantly impact the financial feasibility of the project and render the proposed use of the site as a retail market and fueling station unviable”

In other words, they are asking for this variance because they claim the business would not be profitable enough without more space. However, does a larger service station serve the purpose of the Neighborhood Commercial district zoning?

Unfortunately, the Neighborhood Commercial zoning provides no limits to the number of fuel station pumps (S430-123) while at the same time it limits the size of other businesses in these zones:

311-3.8 Eating and Drinking Establishments with a maximum gross floor area of 3,500 square feet. Those with a drive-in or drive up windows shall address Section 430-41.

311-3.9 Financial Institutions such as branch banks, insurance agents, real estate offices - with a maximum gross floor area of 5,000 square feet per use.

311-3.10 Food Market with a maximum gross floor area of 35,000 square feet, limited to one per Neighborhood Commercial Center.

311-3.11 Personal Service Establishments such as laundry, dry cleaners, barber and beauty shop, shoe repair, photographic studios - with a maximum gross floor area of 5,000 square feet per use.

311-3.12 Professional Offices, including veterinary clinics or offices which do not include boarding facilities other than indoor boarding for immediate, critical care. There shall be a maximum floor area of 5,000 square feet per use.

As an alternative, the applicant could reduce the size of the development to both stay within the purpose of the Neighborhood Commercial district zoning and reduce or eliminate the need for a variance (S435-4.3).

Traffic

Government Regulators: Washington County

West Union and 185th is a busy intersection: 185th serves significant access to Highway 26 for Bethany and West Union is a major thoroughfare for employees at Intel and related businesses. As this proposal sits right on the corner of this intersection it will cause significant changes in traffic flow. In the Washington County Staff Report (pg. 42) for the withdrawn proposal for 12 pumps Washington County staff noted: “the proposed development will generate a net increase in (sic) 6,465 additional trips”.

Staff chose ITE code 945 for Gas Stations and Convenience Markets in making their Transportation Report for the report on the old application. This code is meant for gross floor area (GFA) of 2,000 to 3,000 square ft. The ITE 10th edition 960 code for Super Convenience Market and Gas Stations is more appropriate as it is meant for 3,000 sq. ft or greater. See the ITE Codes document. Using this code results in a trip generation result that is 35% lower than Staff’s original result. Staff replied to public comment and said the new report will use this new ITE category.

Note: that a trip in Traffic Engineering jargon is an entrance or an exit. So, the meaning of this is that the station would get (6,465 / 2) or 3,232 cars stopping at the site a day.

Environmental

Government Regulators: Oregon State and US Federal

According to the site plans the gas pumps are about 60ft from the Bethany Creek wetland and the Underground Storage Tanks (UST) are about 80ft away. It is not uncommon for USTs to leak. The regulations for USTs are not set by Washington county but instead are regulated by Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). Learn more at the DEQ UST program page or lookup UST cleanup sites by zipcode.

Oregon DEQ reported 50 Underground Storage Tank releases between October 1st 2020 and September 30th 2021 in their annual report. For a sense of scale, 50 leaks means 2.8% of the 1,796 regulated Oregon Underground Storage Tank facilities leaked in one year. And many of the leaks in the DEQ database are not detected until the tank is decommissioned. Also, it is worth understanding from the Oregon DEQ annual report that even if the tank itself is working perfectly USTs can leak from their dispensers, piping, or have spills caused from delivery hardware.

Economic

Government Regulators: Oregon State, and US Federal

Washington County, Oregon State, and the US Federal government all have strategic plans to cut consumption of gasoline for passenger vehicles. Further, if you drive around this area you will see many residents are making the transition to electric vehicles for themselves. According to Oregon DMV records the 97229 and 97006 zip codes have seen 3,134 registered electric vehicles since 2019 (source). In those two zip codes in 2019 there were 89,694 vehicles (source) so electric vehicles make up roughly 3% of total vehicles registered in the area. A 3% EV uptake is more than 3 times higher than the rest of Oregon at 0.9%! In fact the 97229 zip code has the most EVs of any zip code in Oregon.

This is all to say that in the coming years and decades there will be less demand for gasoline in Bethany in particular. As a result there will come a time when the station needs to be closed and the gas tanks are removed. The EPA requires $1MM in financial responsibility for operations of less than 100 underground storage tanks (USTs). However, it is unclear if that would actually cover cleanup costs and in many cases if a company is insolvent it will likely lead to a lengthy State DEQ ran cost recovery process.

We put in a public records request with the Oregon DEQ on November, 3rd 2021 to get cost of cleanup for their orphaned underground storage tank program. If you know of any public data on UST cleanup costs please email brandon@nabgas.com.

Get Involved

Subscribe to Our Mailing List

Subscribe to our mailing list to stay informed on opportunities to voice your opinion and stop the Bethany Lake Gas Station.

(We won't spam or sell this list.)

Email Board of Commissioners

In Washington County, Land Use Code (law) updates are passed by the Board of Commissioners. We want to see Washington County pass a land use update to ban the development of gas stations within 1,500 feet of residences, public park or playground, school, hospital, church, theater, public library or building for public assembly; or any wetland, stream, river, flood plain, or environmentally sensitive area.

Email Board of Commissioners

Letters to the Editor

Writing a letter to local media is a powerful way to bring attention to this proposed Chevron and its associated risks. Our Letters to the Editor page includes criteria to submit letters to various media outlets and three examples letters that have been submitted.

The Beaverton Times publised two Letters to the Editor in the Nov. 11th 2021 edition (archive).

The Beaverton Times published another Letter to the Editor in the Dec. 23rd 2021 edition (archive).

Community Letters

If you prepare a well researched letter please email brandon@nabgas.com and I may post it on this site.

Timeline

This is a timeline of past and future events on this application. Subscribe to the mailing list above to get information about future events.

Future Events

October 20th, 2022: A public hearing is scheduled for the new design that includes a “Special Use and Development Review approval” for an approximately 4,428 square foot commercial development. The “Chevron Market” consists of a convenience market, a gas station with four fueling islands (eight pumps), and a drive-thru. The application has an Access Management Plan for access to NW West Union Road, and a Half-Street Exception for improvements to NW West Union Road.

Past Events

July 21st, 2022: Washington County has deemed the third design application (Casefile L2200199) as complete and the three documents are available for review: Civil Plans, Narrative Application, and Landscape Plans.

June / July 2022: Long term planning for Washington County Land Use and Transportation will consider adding a plan for gas station land use.

March 30th, 2022: Bob Barman, the developer, is hosting a neighborhood review of a third redesign. See the summary on the mailing list.

January 20th, 2022: Opportunity for public testimony during Washington County Hearings Officer meeting on Zoom.

January 11th, 2022: Bob Barman, the applicant, requested a continuance until June 16, 2022 at 9am.

November 24th, 2021: 78 public comments published.

November 18th, 2021: Washington County Land Use Hearings Officer meeting. Applicant asked for a continuance. Listen to the audio on YouTube.

November 11th, 2021: Staff report published.

October 29th, 2021: The public comment period for the application for the Chevron near Bethany Lake is opened. The land use case is L2100244.

October 2021: Washington County’s Community Participation Organization (CPO) had a Q&A Zoom meeting about the new proposal. Watch the video on YouTube

September 2021: Washington County accepted the application for the site once again. It is case file L2100244 on the Washington County project page.

March 2021: Washington County Planning Commission reply to community members letters about impact of the service station application (pg. 84).

September 2020: Land Use Case L2000057 is withdrawn. (via Cedar Mill News)

May 2020: The Washington County Department of Land Use and Transportation issue their report on the original L2000057 land use case.

April 2020: The community learned that Robert Barman, on behalf of his Chevron franchise company, was proposing a Chevron gas station at the site of the old Mad Greek Deli. (via Cedar Mill News). The land use case is L2000057 with Washington County.

Application Documents

We requested application documents for Land Use Case L2200199. The documents were provided by Washington County on 2022-07-29 and are published here.

These are links to the Land Use Cases and related materials published by CPO 7.

News Stories

Editorials

Social Media Discussions

Printables

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Who owns the West Union and 185th gas station site?

Based on the filings with Washington County for L2000057 the Payer for the application was “WEST UNION AND 185TH FOOD MKT INC”. This company, West Union and 185th Food Mkt, lists Robert Barman and Mary Barman as President and Secretary. Robert and Mary Barman own other gas and convenience store businesses such as Cornelius Fast Serv, and Woodburn Fast Serv. Previously they operated Canby Fast Serv until 2009.

Q: How much gasoline will the station pump?

A: In an application document that outlines the data from Robert Barman’s Woodburn Chevron it states: 3,590,287 gallons of fuel was sold in 2019 (~299,190 gallons a month) and that “The number of fueling stations provided at this gas station (12) is identical to the number in the proposed development”. The new 2021 application, L2100244, does reduce the number of pumps from 12 to 10 so it might be reasonable to assume a 17% reduction in gas pumped from 299,190 gallons a month to 248,327 gallons a month.

Q: The applicant proposes to add solar panels to the roof. How much does that offset the gas emissions?

Even with a generous solar production estimate that assumes coverage of the entire roof solar generation will offset 0.01% of the carbon emissions from the fuel that is estimated to sell every year based on application documents.

Q: Why is the applicant requesting a variance on Neighborhood Commercial setbacks?

A: The applicant is requesting changing required setbacks on the property to install a larger building for better business revenues: “If the site’s setbacks were imposed as required, the buildable area would be reduced from approximately 4,983 SF to 2,400 SF, and the resulting building footprint would be smaller in order to maintain a rectangular shape. According to the National Association of Convenience Stores (NASC), a typical convenience store contains approximately 2,800 SF of sales space and 1,900 SF of non-sales area for a total of 4,700 SF. These areas are vital to the feasibility of fueling stations, because the greater margins associated with in-stores sales, particularly food and beverage, are necessary to offset the slim and typically volatile margins associated with fuel sales. Therefore, a smaller building footprint would significantly impact the financial feasibility of the project and render the proposed use of the site as a retail market and fueling station unviable.” - From pg. 59 of the application document “West Union Chevron Narrative

Q: Who wrote and maintains this website?

A: My name is Brandon Philips, hello! I am a Bethany resident, an Oregon native, and an Oregon State University graduate. I created this website to collate all of the disparate information about the proposed gas station to help neighbors form their opinion and have facts available when engaging with the various political and land use processes. If you have questions feel free to contact: brandon@nabgas.com