INVESTIGATION OF CURRY GAS PRICES COMES UP EMPTY
January 07, 2002 11:00 pm

GOLD BEACH The Curry County Commissioners held out little hope Monday that Oregon Attorney General Hardy Myers can do anything about alleged gasoline price-gouging in Brookings and Gold Beach.

Myers had launched an investigation of Sept. 11 price-gouging and of the historic disparity between prices in Curry County and those in the rest of the state.

Commissioner Marlyn Schafer said shed spoken with a member of Myers staff who told her unless they can prove collusion among the gas stations in Curry County to fix prices, nothing could be done.

Wed have to have someone testify, said Schafer. I dont believe anyone will do that. They cant start an investigation until they have something to base it on.

Schafer said on her weekend trip to Portland, she paid 95 cents a gallon in Eugene and never saw prices above $1.05 for regular from Reedsport north.

Theres definitely some price fixing, Schafer said of Curry County. Its not necessarily local people, but the big oil companies. They know we have no clout down here. Theyre holding us hostage.

Commissioner Lucie La Bont said Port Manager Russ Crabtree is moving forward on putting gas pumps in at the Port of Brookings Harbor.

She said he believes he can buy gas out of Southern California and sell it for $1.20 a gallon.

La Bont said that might put pressure on the other stations.

Schafer said the county should lobby the legislators hard in the next session to do something about high gas prices.

She said the problem is that metro-area legislators have not experienced those kind of prices.

We should invite them down for a vacation, said Commissioner Rachelle Schaaf.