Yes, that's right - you didn't misread. Aparently it's against the law to pump your own gas in Oregon.
Of course, I had no idea when I drew up at the last gas station before the airport.
A nice man in a Shell uniform and holding a red rag, approaches my car. My first thought is - it's one of those stations where the attendants ask you if you want them to wash your windows. He greets me, I greet him, I head toward the pumping station and begin to edit my credit card info. He says "I'll be right back" and I think ok, whatever, and get on with doing my thing. I pull the nozzle out of its holder, insert it into the car and....
"Wait! Stop! You're not supposed to do that!"
Huh? "Not supposed to do what?"
"That. This is a full-service station. The cops are right over there and they'll ticket you."
I peer around the island in disbelief and, wouldn't you believe it, a cop is sitting in his car staring at me with suspicion. Seriously, the cops are policing self-service stations to ensure the attendants don't get screwed out of their tip now? I know Portland leans a little to the left but this was ridiculous!
Finally, the guy leans in. "You're not from around here are you?"
"I didn't think so. It's illegal to pump your own gas in the state of Oregon."
"Yes, illegal." He looks at the cop, who looks to all the world as if he is actually going to get out of his car and ticket me. "I'll go talk to him and explain," the attendant says, and trots off to explain that the stupid California didn't know the law.
My gas stops pumping, having topped off the tank, and the attendant hears the "clunk" of the fuel shutting off. "Stay right there! Don't do a thing!" he tells me from the other side of the island. And I waited dutifully for him to return, remove the nozzle from my care, put it back in its holder, and hand me a receipt.
Crazy! If anyone knows the reason for this seemingly random law (public safety issue?), I'd love to know it!