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Death and Cornell

Among my group at work, we've nicknamed the intersection of 17th Ave. and Cornell Rd. to be "Death and Cornell" because it feels so unsafe. 17th ends in a T-intersection with Cornell. There's just a stop sign on 17th — no light. It's bad enough turning right onto Cornell because visibility isn't great, but what's worse is that there's usually someone ahead of you trying to turn left onto Cornell, and that's such a busy street that you waste a lot of time waiting. People get impatient and do stupid things. (It's unfortunate, because there's a light just over at 21st, although its left-turn capacity is poor…)

At Death and Cornell, there's a danger below ground as well. There's a gas station at that corner (map) that evidently leaked many years ago. The Oregon DEQ has fined the owner, local gasoline mogul Dwight Estby (Argus, Oregonian), although it looks like fault for the leak lies with previous owners.

From Loren, this commentary:

The DEQ is getting $93K in fines (and possibly other demands) from this guy for a gas leak that might be 30 years old. How's he supposed to defend himself? Even if the leak isn't from his tanks, they can still require him to put in more test wells and pay for additional testing. They can run that station out of business, but then what?? Dig up and haul away that entire area? Build something else on top of that contaminated soil? Or maybe just hassle the next gas station owner there.

Now for the non-PC questions.

  1. What's the harm here anyhow?
  2. If there's no leakage today, how long will it take the gas to dissipate to acceptable levels? The dissipation is exponential - the radius of infiltration increases by 4' per year.
  3. Can I get free gas if I dig a well on the school playground?

We wonder how the money from the fine will be spent. Will it fund further aggression against the station owner?


In other local news, this gripping headline:

home damaged by bag of cremated human remains accidentally dropped from plane.

You have my attention.

Part of that story was reprinted in an advertising circular I normally throw away without reading. This time was different. It's hard to walk away from a headline like that. Copy editors, take note.

Tiny Island