Last updated on October 6, 2020
An Oregon developer of a proposed gas station next to a creek and wetlands has withdrawn his application.
In short: Victory!
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.
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.
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.”
“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.
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.
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