SEAVIEW — Mount St. Helens had erupted just a few months earlier. Incumbent U.S President Jimmy Carter was gearing up for a November showdown versus Ronald Reagan while an ongoing nationwide fuel shortage was pushing gas prices above $1.15 per gallon, nearly doubling the national average in less than two years.
Meanwhile, on the Long Beach Peninsula, a new gas station was being built in Seaview to better serve the growing needs of the coastal community.
The date was September 1980.
Today, the Seaview Shop N Store gas station and convenience store at 3909 Pacific Highway is in the midst of a makeover not seen since its construction four decades ago.
“We’re going to do a complete re-do with a brand-new tank, canopy and one extra fuel island for high-speed diesel,” said owner Mark Whitman. Customers also will be served by new fuel pumps and other upgrades.
“There used to be a 12,000-gallon tank and two 8,000-gallon tanks. Now there’s going to be one big tank that’s 8,000-gallon and 6,000-gallon and 5,000-gallon.”
Fixing to sell
On Friday, Aug. 28, decades-old dirt cascaded down the sides of the colossal cylindrical fuel tanks as they were hoisted from the ground and winched to a flatbed trailer at the station. Crew from Mulkiteo-based Glacier Environmental Services and Ilwaco-based Ron’s Recycling were on site to handle the heavy digging and tank removal.
“It’s going really good,” said Glacier Environmental Services project manager Thayne Wastman.
Whitman, 70, said it was simply time to have the tanks replaced and prepare the station for eventual new ownership.
“I would like to retire and I want to sell the station,” he said. “But to try to sell the station with 30- or 40-year-old tanks… I wouldn’t get anything for it. It will hopefully allow me to sell the station because it’s brand new. The tanks have 30-year warranties.”
Whitman is hopeful the fuel station construction will be complete with pumps operating by Oct. 1. The convenience store portion continues to operate uninterrupted, he said.
Over the years the gas station and convenience store, open at 5 a.m. daily, have become a dependable stop for jetty, surf and lake fishermen, Whitman explained, adding that he hopes the eventual new owners will continue the tradition of serving the community and their needs.
“The community has been very good to us and I want to leave the gas station in better condition than I found it. The new owners, whoever that may be, can have something that will continue to serve the community as long as they need gasoline and not have to worry about any leaks," he said.