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The Times publishes letters on a gas station proposal in Bethany, public participation in Sherwood and more.

Chevron station doesn't belong in this neighborhood

Who loves land use zoning? Well, it is tough to love. But, it does have a purpose. Or at least it should.

There is a Chevron station proposed at Northwest 185th Avenue and West Union Road north of Highway 26 in Washington County. And the applicant is asking the county for a variance to reduce setback requirements because "a smaller building footprint would significantly impact the financial feasibility of the project." I think the variance should be denied because the fuel station is simply too big for the zoning it resides in.

The neighborhood commercial zoning codes for the area says its purpose is to "provide for the shopping and service needs of the immediate urban neighborhood." And the county code puts limits on the size of grocery stores, banks, professional offices, and more to ensure that facilities aren't oversized for the stated zoning purpose.

Inexplicably, however, there are no limits on the size of a fuel/gas/service station in these "Neighborhood Commercial" zones. And so this developer is proposing a Chevron station in this "Neighborhood Commercial" zoning that is only two pumps smaller than his Woodburn Chevron, which had the second-highest gasoline sales by volume in the entire Pacific Northwest and sold 3.5 million gallons of fuel in 2019.

Washington County code should put limits on the size of service stations and deny this variance. Otherwise the zoning should just state no purpose at all.

If you want to learn more, visit

Nisha George, Bethany

Washington County needs to protect sensitive areas

Gas stations store tens of thousands of gallons of fuel in underground storage tanks. And these tanks regularly spill and leak. According to the Oregon DEQ's annual report between October 2020 and September, 3% of the 1,800 regulated tanks leaked.

And it isn't just the tanks that leak: the pipes, dispensers and delivery mistakes cause leaks too.

Unfortunately, there are no protections in Washington County's land use and zoning code to ensure that these leaks happen far away from sensitive areas or ground water.

And why does this all matter now? Well there is a proposed Chevron station at the corner of 185th Avenue and West Union Road in the growing Bethany area of unincorporated Washington County. And the site plan places the storage tanks within 80 feet of the wetlands of the Rock Creek Greenway that also feed into the beloved recreation areas of Bethany Lake.

We don't need a gas station at this location, and the county must update their zoning to better protect sensitive sites like wetlands, streams, rivers, flood plains, schools and parks.

To see the application docs and other perspectives on this, see

Brandon Philips, Bethany

You too can be heard and make a difference

Hey citizens of Sherwood — did you know you have a voice when you have a traffic concern in Sherwood?

Don't just vent your traffic concerns on social media. There's no one there to fix it. But if you thoughtfully describe the issue and the area in which it occurs on the Sherwood Traffic Safety Committee Request Form (available on the City of Sherwood's website), you may just be a hero for getting the problem to the right people and a solution that everyone will appreciate.

Check out their monthly meetings (on Teams until they can meet in person), the fourth Thursday of each month. All meetings are recorded and available for viewing on the City of Sherwood's YouTube channel.

It is led by a citizen chairperson, under the guidance of the Sherwood Police Department, and attended by city personnel who have been very responsive to citizen input.

While you are in the mood, always room for interested citizens to serve on boards and committees. The Police Advisory Board and Traffic Safety Committee would love to have you get involved.

Again: fourth Thursdays. Link is always on City of Sherwood website under meetings and agendas.

Nancy Ellingson, Sherwood

Oregon deserves better than anti-environmentalist Johnson

Betsy Johnson has been my Oregon senator for many years. Because I oppose environmental poisoning of our forests with 7 to 8 pounds of toxic herbicides an acre and the use of leaded fuel in private pilot education out of Hillsboro Airport, she has refused to answer my emails, phone calls or see me when I go to the Capitol.

She and her husband own the Scappoose airport. Their pro-aviation stance includes encouraging Portland Community College pilot training programs that fly lead fuel using planes over our organic farms, orchards and schools. She has used her position on transportation to make sure her aviation interests are expanded.

She also stood on the Capitol steps holding a sign to support big out-of-state corporate logging interest. Wall Street timber companies like Weyerhaeuser, that poison our forests, have used propaganda to convince our local loggers that Timber Unity is there to protect their jobs when nothing could be further from the truth. We have shipped their milling jobs overseas.

Sen. Johnson has a 41% score on the Oregon League of Conservation Voters' 2021 legislative scorecard, and has a lifetime score of 64%. It gets worse every year. She voted against 100% clean energy for all, electric vehicle incentives, recycling modernization, energy-efficient appliances, and upholding our strong land-use laws by allowing luxury homes to be built on exclusive farmland.

If she refuses to legislate for the health of Oregon and refuses to correspond with voters, as she has refused to talk to me, then she is unsuited to sit in the Senate or the governor's mansion.

Ellen Saunders, Manning

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