The Daily Bucket: Saving the Redwoods #3; We Knocked off a Gas Station.

An Oregon developer of a proposed gas station next to a creek and wetlands has withdrawn his application.

In short:  Victory!

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Withdrawn App, how sweet the sound,
Saving trees … thirty feet around.
They were doomed on this place,
but now are saved, thanks to Grace.

The nearby neighborhoods’ coveys of bird watchers and Lake walkers rallied folks on social media against the gas station.  We poured hundreds of critical comments onto the County opposing it. 

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The neighborhood pitched in with original art, for freeway blogging. Bethany Lake, on the left.

Many fellow Kossacks helped with expertise and donations, and we needed every dime. I can’t thank folks enough.

We even hired a lawyer!

The station would have been sited west of Portland Oregon, on the divide between urban and rural Oregon.  It would be 20 feet from wetlands and tributaries of Rock Creek, that supported salmon runs downstream.  Billy Heron also fishes nearby.

Along with volunteers who worked long hours to spread awareness, a few old timers,  and energetic newcomers, pored over the applications.  We found “errors” that seemed too obvious to be deliberate, but we kept finding new issues.

Missing reports on the leaking underground oil storage tank.  Missing well reports. Reports that revealed 9000 parts per million of gasoline were left behind in polluted soil after taking out the leaking gas tanks. 

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Toxic science for today. Top chart; lead?  There’s lead there? (Right column)
3670 parts per million of gasoline will vent from the soil into on site buildings, when the risk limit is 94.

The excavated pit water contained benzene at trace levels, below risk standards.

Still, Benzene causes cancer.  Even after the pit’s backfilled with ¾ minus base rock,  the pit water flows downhill into the Lake, and Billy Heron will be eating tainted fish at the top of the food chain.

Files were missing reports on demolition of asbestos-bearing buildings.  Engineering reports contradicted each other.  Inaccurate elevation measurements, faulty project descriptions, and out-of-true maps complicated the process.  Traffic counts that failed to mention accident rates. Creosoted utility poles dumped into wetlands.

At the last public hearing, the developer sent a $700/hour attorney to the Zoom virtual meeting.  He sat there on one-quarter of my computer screen, scribbling on a yellow pad, frowning, sneering, half-lidded like Peter Lorre, or a bullfrog. 

I had flashes of his tongue zipping out and snatching a fly, like a frog. I kept worrying I was really in Frog Court.

I looked out the window. Oh shit. A large red planet dominated the sky.  I looked down. This was a dream. Maybe a Phillip Dick short story.

I was in my underwear.  Three white men in suits were staring at me from my computer screen.

Wait, it was a virtual hearing, I was home, at my desk in front of a computer, on Zoom.

I was in my underwear, but that was ok, I only needed to be half-dressed in a T-shirt,  and the red planet was the sun, struggling to shine through forest fire smoke.

Still, I wasn’t sure if it was Peter Lorre or a bullfrog on one corner of my computer screen.

I asked the bullfrog in a suit who he was.

“I represent the site owner,” he huffed.

“What firm are you with? (I’d already guessed it)

“I don’t have to tell you that.”

Long Pause.

“As a courtesy, I’m with the Schwabe firm.  My name’s in the files.”

“Welcome to the case, I haven’t seen your name in there,” I parried. What I was thinking, was shouting “Courtesy THIS” back at him, while gesturing lewdly.

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“I don’t have to tell you that.”  Well, I don’t have to tell you a heron’s landing behind you.

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Gas Station? …. Or baby ducks? 

But his promises of massive billings to fight our opposition, probably helped discourage the developer.

Our groups are staying together, in case they reapply.

No matter what The Godfather said in the novel, revenge tastes just fine, piping hot. 

Thanks for reading the Daily Bucket.

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/s/ Redwoodman