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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Oregon Legislature. This is a venue for political and policy coverage of the state government in Salem and its impact on the people of Oregon.

Measure Would Allow Rural Oregonians To Sometimes Pump Their Own Gas
Oregonians may soon be able to pump there own gas in some parts of the state.

Anyone who drives through Oregon knows that the state doesn't let people pump their own gas.

A measure moving through the state legislature would create an exception to that law, but only under limited circumstances.

From its description, this bill sounds rather ominous: "Relating to the operation of devices for dispensing Class 1 flammable liquids."

In most states, devices that dispense flammable liquids are simply called gas pumps. And in every state but Oregon and New Jersey, drivers are entrusted with the operation of those pumps.

The measure would allow gas stations in rural counties to stay open even when there's no one there to staff the pump.

"This would allow folks to actually get away from their job and leave fuel available to people who might happen by these remote areas,” Republican ?Representative Cliff Bentz said.

The bill as currently written would apply to counties with a population of less than 40,000. That covers fully half of all Oregon counties, including most communities along the coast and the Columbia Gorge.

The measure passed the Oregon House unanimously and now heads to the Senate.