New Medford gas station starts controversy

Neighbors argue the gas station is unnecessary and will increase traffic problems.

Posted: Apr. 18, 2019 6:57 PM

MEDFORD, Ore. -- New plans to transform a vacant lot in Medford are underway and nearby neighbors are not happy.

Construction plans include a 370 square foot standalone coffee kiosk, a 3,300 square foot convenience store with gas pumps and a 1,304 square foot car wash.

The 2.5 acre lot is located on the east side of Medford. It's at the corner of Springbrook Road and East McAndrews Road.
The lot was rezoned from residential to commercial in 2015. The new construction plans were never sent to some neighbors, even though that's what is required by the city. Now neighbors say they plan to speak up at the public hearing on May 3.

Judy Farnsworth and her husband have lived in the same Medford home for 20 years, directly across from the lot. Now she fears the new construction will change things for them.

Farnsworth said, "If the pollution goes up I'm wondering when or how long he [my husband] will even be able to go outside again."

Her husband has a severe respiratory disorder. While Farnsworths' neighbors say they plan to just move if this gas station is built, that's not an option for the her and her husband.

"We cannot move because of my husbands level of disability," Farnsworth said. 

She also worries it will be even harder for paramedics to get to her husband and the assisted living center on the other corner, Bonaventure of Medford.

"When we've had ambulance or paramedics here in our house it's been very difficult and sometimes they have to make a couple of laps around just to be able to have access to our home because of the traffic, she said. 

Farnsworth isn't the only one in the area who struggles with the traffic. 

Gary Sumrak, Medford homeowner for 25 years, said "A lot of us on these side streets can hardly get out on McAndrews or Springbrook due to traffic volume."

Sumrak's spent the last few weeks going door to door asking neighbors to sign a petition against the new gas station.

"Right now we are in the proximity of about 250 signatures on the petition just in this neighborhood," he told Newswatch12. 

Now he said he's just hoping the community coming together will make a difference to officials.

Sumrak said, "And change their mind and put something more meaningful and enhance the area."

Not everyone is against the newly proposed construction plans. One resident has lived on Springbrook Road for the last 40 years and said she would love a convenience store so close to home. 

We reached out to the developer and new owner and both declined to comment.

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