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Fred Meyer wants to add gas station

South Gateway store proposes adding a fuel center in its parking lot next to Taco Bell

Fred Meyer is known for its sock sales, meat cuts and ... regular unleaded?

Medford's South Gateway Center Fred Meyer wants to build a gas station in its parking lot.

It's certainly a national trend and we think it fits our one-stop shopping concept, said Robert Currey-Wilson, who handles store development with Fred Meyer Stores.

He said the proposed station would be at the corner of Stewart Avenue and Center Drive, next to Taco Bell. Drivers would get to the pumps through the parking lot.

It would be similar to a fuel center that opened recently at the Grants Pass Fred Meyer.

But Currey-Wilson needs urban renewal agency permission before he can do more, so he's traveling from his Portland office to come before the Medford Urban Renewal Agency board at its 7 p.m. meeting today. The meeting takes place incouncil chambers at City Hall, 411 W. Eighth St., Medford. It is open to the public.

Restrictions agreed on by MURA and South Gateway businesses state that the area in question is a no-build area, meaning that MURA would have to make an exception for the gas station.

It's a policy decision for our board, said MURA Senior Planner Eric Iversen.

It's not even something that we (staff) can make a recommendation for, he said.

Freddy's would lose 36 parking spaces, but Currey-Wilson said the store can afford the loss.

That area is primarily employee parking, he said.

The proposal is for a canopy, a small kiosk and five gas pumps, he said.

Not only are other stores, such as Safeway and Albertsons, installing gas pumps in their parking lots, but Currey-Wilson said 24 of 132 Fred Meyers have fueling stations.

Public Works Director Cory Crebbin said that based on similar set-ups, he would guess about half of the Fred Meyer gas station customers would be those already shopping in the center.

I don't think you're going to get a lot of people making a special trip, he said. That actually reduces trips overall.

He said the parking lot station only works where parking lots don't fill up.

According to MURA, if the board approves the idea, the next step would be for Fred Meyer Stores to submit a site plan.

We will probably have a traffic analysis done, said Currey-Wilson. This is a very preliminary step.

Currey-Wilson said that in the 1940s, Freddy's in Portland had gas stations.

So we're bringing back a tradition, he joked.

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One-stop shopping may take on a new element with the addition of a gas station in the parking lot of Fred Meyer at South Gateway Center. The company will seek the Medford Urban Renewal Agency?s approval in a meeting tonight. Mail Tribune / Bob Pennell - Mail Tribune Bob Pennell