A pair of truck drivers take a break from the road at the Talent Truck Stop area Tuesday morning. [Mail Tribune / Andy Atkinson ]

Truck drivers will have a new reason to like Talent

The redevelopment of the former Talent Truck Stop site on West Valley View Road off Exit 21 is moving ahead after the recent sale of the 5.2-acre site.

Truck-stop operations there ceased in 2010.

Long-haul operators will be only part of the customer base, as the new facility will feature refueling for both diesel big rigs and gas for cars, an expanded convenience store and a 24-hour restaurant, said Bob Krohn of Bend, a partner in the development.

“We’ll fill a need for the truckers and the traveling motorists, as well. We'll be very, very competitive on prices,” said Krohn. A two-story, lodge-style building will house the store and restaurant, and extensive landscaping will be done. The new building will sit closer to West Valley View Road than existing structures.

Krohn said he expects the facility to open a year from now. A site plan review will be submitted to the city’s Community Development Department for approval.

Although the Petro Stopping Center that serves truckers is just three miles north at Exit 24, Krohn says transportation will continue as a growth industry.

“There’s so much on-time transportation of goods, and people are expecting delivery to their front doorsteps,” said Krohn. “I see transportation increasing over the years, commensurate with estimated projections of (the Oregon Department of Transportation).”

Krohn is a partner in the development and is also the acquisitions and development director for Bend-based American Oil, the parent company in the arrangements. The partners formed Liberty Oregon LLC, which owns the Talent property. Including land purchase and development, Liberty will spend about $8 million on the center, which will employ 50 workers when fully operational.

Talent voters passed a 3 cents-per-gallon tax on diesel sales in May. The Talent City Council put the measure on the ballot in anticipation of the redevelopment of the site and accelerated wear to roads by big-rig trucks.

“It’s one of the ways that we can kind of help the community. It seems like it’s a good contribution to city government,” said Krohn. His company did not oppose the measure.

Plans call for a 12,000-square-foot building to accommodate the store, restaurant and truckers' lounge, which will be about 2,200 square feet in a second-floor space. Truckers will find showers, laundry facilities and a home theater.

“As part of the restaurant, we’ll have a meeting room and banquet facility,” said Krohn. “The Chamber of Commerce and other groups could meet there.”

All existing structures on the site will be removed, including above-ground fueling tanks. Underground fuel lines also will be removed. Liberty already has held pre-application sessions with city officials.

American Oil is just beginning to build transportation service centers, with its efforts focused in Oregon, Washington and Idaho, said Krohn. The firm has redeveloped the former Gordy’s truck stop in LaPine, and Talent will be its first ground-up undertaking.

A design and development team of general contractors, architectural firms and geo-technical experts has been formed to work on American Oil projects, said Krohn. Team members are licensed in multiple Northwest states, but local contractors will be used during the building process.

Talent Truck Stop operations that included fueling, vehicle washing and maintenance ceased in 2010, and the Talent Truck Stop Restaurant closed the same year. Randy Simonson of Commercial Real Estate Company represented the seller in the transaction.

— Tony Boom is an Ashland freelance writer. Reach him at tboomwriter@

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