It's barely below the $4 mark, but a LO service station is offering prices most stations blew by months ago
by: Cliff Newell, 
Dave Roche, owner of Dave’s Palisades Service gas station, and his granddaughter, Nicole, show off his low price for a gallon of regular gasoline.

Dave Roche just wants to give his customers a break.

That is why his Dave's Palisades Service became the first Lake Oswego area gas station to drop its price of regular gas below $4.00 per gallon on Monday.

And these days, $3.99 gas is reason to celebrate.

'I bought it at the right price,' said Roche. 'It's the difference between branded fuel and unbranded fuel. Branded fuel is 12 to 14 cents higher.'

On the other hand - 'It's liable to do a reverse and go up again.'

But for right now, Roche can bask in the gratitude of drivers who want to buy the cheapest gas around.

Roche has worked at the station for an incredible 42 years, with the last 33 years as the owner, and he has a strong sense of empathy for his customers; especially senior citizens, such as himself.

'What would we do on a fixed income?' Roche asked. 'For anyone who is retired or on a fixed income, it makes it real hard to survive.'

Roche's decision to make local gas price history came last Wednesday after a family of farm workers came in to purchase $9.94 worth of gas.

'They were going to go pick apples or berries,' Roche said, 'then they would go buy some dog bones so they could go home and make some soup.

'Right then I decided to lowball it. When your customers can't buy food or medicine, that is tough.'

Roche noticed the change in people's attitudes right away as he put up the new price on his price board.

'Now they're smiling,' he said. 'My main target is letting people get out and get around.'

It was in 1966 that Roche first came to work at the station, only intending for it be a part-time job while he worked on the I-205 Bridge. Instead he became an institution at the corner of South Shore Boulevard and McVey Avenue.

'You can call me conservative,' Roche said. 'I work 12 hours a day and don't take any vacations. I'm a workaholic.'

Certainly it helps his longevity that he gets so much help from his family, including his son, brother, nephew and most recently his 14-year-old granddaughter Nicole.

'Basically, every day is a fun day,' Roche said.

Now, Roche is spreading out the fun by offering lower fuel prices, and he hopes he will become a trendsetter.

'Somebody will follow me, because there's always someone who wants to be the top dog and offer the lowest prices,' Roche said. 'Then it will go from county to county to county. It will snowball all over Oregon. That's what I'm hoping for.'

To read more about Dave's Palisades Service, go to the web site www.davespalisade

The station is located at 1680 South Shore Boulevard in Lake Oswego.

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