Business & Development, City & Government, Creswell

City approves new gas station, new look for busy intersection

Preliminary design of the new Creswell Union 76 that Point S Tire and Auto Service and 76 Station Owner Bill Spencer is developing on the corner of Oregon Avenue and North Mill Street. The plans include a station, convenience store and car wash. Image provided/Bill Spencer

CRESWELL – One of the busiest and high-profile corners in town will be getting a makeover that will change the look of Oregon Avenue for generations. So long Joe’s Diner and the old Dairy Queen building, hello to a ”dream come true” for one of the city’s most prominent businessmen.
”We dreamed in the ’90s of putting in a carwash but shelved that to put in the tire store,” said Bill Spencer, owner of Point S Tire and Auto Service and the 76 Station at the corner of North Mill Street and East Oregon Avenue.
”Knowing we had a bigger piece of property than what we used to build the present 76 Station gave us an opportunity to dream about putting something in that the public really wanted because we hear about it every day,” he said. ”A carwash is exciting for a lot of Creswell people.”
The Planning Commission approved the request to redevelop the property, made by Spencer and Sara Scott, during its meeting on Jan. 16.
There are two phases planned for the project – the gas pumps and store, and then the carwash. Spencer said construction on the new station is scheduled to start in August with an opening at the end of the year.
Although the redevelopment project was a business move, Spencer said he hopes it will facilitate more business growth and be an opportunity to bring something new to Creswell.
”If we’re going to have to do this new station, let’s do it the best we can,” Spencer said, ”so that we bring something to town that people are excited about and pleased to have here.”
The current 76 will be in operation until the new station opens, and only then will phase two begin with the demolition of the old station to build the carwash, which has a 2021 timeline.
For City Manager Michelle Amberg, the investment will not only improve curb appeal, it will add to the city’s architectural profile.
”In addition to improved service (more pumps) the new station will have an automated carwash – no longer will need to go to Eugene for that – and improved sidewalks and landscaping,” Amberg said.
It will change the look of Creswell. ”The upgraded architectural design that will improve the look of the entryway into Creswell,” Amberg said. ”With the improvements to the shopping mall across the street and the bank, that area of town along Oregon Avenue will definitely benefit from this tremendous facelift.”
The new station will have six lanes instead of four, and will have an additional four to five feet of stacking room between dispensers, giving cars more room to wait in line. Instead of five dispensers, the plan is to have either eight or nine. Access points to the station will be 36 feet, which is rare for most entry points, and Spencer paid a lot of attention to the design of traffic flow.
The project has been in the works for six years, he said. This year the station is reaching its 30-year mark, and Spencer is required by the Department of Environmental Quality to have proof of financial responsibility in case of contamination. Over the years, he found it harder to get affordable insurance to cover that, and realized that something was going to have to change.
”It wasn’t a surprise to us, but it set the timing,” he said.
Already, the project has its own set of challenges. Due to the location on a highway managed by the Oregon Department of Transportation, there is another layer of complications that Spencer has to go through.
During the planning commission meeting, City Planner Madeline Phillips explained that a concern with sidewalks came up in her discussion with ODOT. New standards require sidewalks to be six feet instead of five. There is a concern that in updating the sidewalks with this project, it might trigger the need for other improvements that the City doesn’t have a timeline for just yet. ODOT has asked Spencer for a deferral agreement, asking him to improve the sidewalks when the City determines the timeline of larger street improvements.
”We know that we’re out of compliance but we’re still able to move forward,” Phillips said.
Spencer has worked with ODOT before, and said this has been the most complex. He made a point of thanking the City for its support.
”We’ve really been happy with the cooperation the City has given us,” Spencer said.
High schoolers have always been an integral part of the station’s employment, and Spencer’s goal is to maintain that relationship with students.
As Oregon begins to explore expanding self-service options – it’s already allowed in certain rural areas – Spencer said he would still employ hosts for the island to help customers and make sure the traffic flow is safe. For the carwash, that will always be serviced by two to three employees, who will be high school students.
”It’s the same kind of service we’ve done for years,” he said. ”In terms of total employment, I don’t see a decline, it might be kind of a lift.”
At this point, Spencer doesn’t know the full cost of the project and is working off of ranges people in the industry have given him. Bids haven’t gone out yet but Spencer said that it’s expensive and it will take 20-30 years to recoup the costs.
”If you try to recapture the cost in five years it wouldn’t be fair to the public,” he explained.



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