TIGARD - Efforts to put Tigard's controversial gas tax on a future ballot are underway in earnest.

A group of gas station owners are trying the initiative process to put the issue before voters by gathering signatures at about 10 of the 14 gas stations in Tigard.

The group started collecting signatures last Thursday and as of yesterday, about 1,000 had been turned in, according to Stacia Truax of Cain Petroleum.

'We feel good about the response so far,' she said Tuesday.

The group is aiming to get about 5,000 signatures and plans to submit them to the city by May 15.

The City Council in December adopted a 3-cents-per-gallon gas tax to fund improvements to the Pacific Highway/Greenburg Road/Main Street intersection, which are estimated to cost about $4.5 million.

The gas tax, which was recommended to the council by a citizens' task force, will automatically end once $5 million is raised or on Dec. 11, 2011, whichever comes first.

In January, local station owners started a petition drive to put the tax to a vote of the people, but not enough valid signatures were gathered. The group needed 2,383 signatures or 10 percent of the registered voters in Tigard.

This time around, the initiative process requires 15 percent of the registered voters to sign.

The gas tax went into effect April 1.

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