Make the McKenzie Connection!

Dump closures could be coming

DumpMCKENZIE BRIDGE: A $1.5 million shortage between operating costs and revenue generated is facing Lane County’s Waste Management Division. County dumps receive no property tax funding to operate.

The Board of County Commissioners is tentatively scheduled to receive a presentation regarding a consultant’s report in August and begin public discussion of the options. “We chose August in order to allow ample time for public feedback in July,” according to Devon Ashbridge, Lane County’s Public Information Officer. “The timeline also allows for in-depth board discussion outside of the larger budget process, which will conclude by the end of June. Commissioners will make the ultimate decision on which, if any, of the identified options to pursue.”

The report  includes the option of closing some of the smaller, rural transfer stations and has identified McKenzie Bridge as a possible site. Other possible changers could mean an end to discounts for senior citizens and for people who recycle their offcasts.

“However, the final decision must be made by the Board and the commissioners will have the opportunity to adopt, adjust or refuse any of the options presented,” Ashbridge adds.

Impacts will likely impact both Lane County residents and commercial haulers. For McKenzie Disposal owner Cheri Fuller the road ahead could be quite a bit longer. She estimates about 20 percent of her  company’s McKenzie area customers reside in the upper portion of the Valley. Those numbers rise in the summertime when more vacation home owners are part of the mix. During the summer season McKenzie Disposal empties their garbage trucks twice a week - on Monday and Thursday - at the McKenzie Bridge transfer site. During the winter they shift to once every Thursday.

Proposed changes could go beyond the closure of McKenzie Bridge and some other small outlying sites. Part of the waste management report includes a plan to limit the county’s big Glenwood site to only residential customers. That means all commercial garbage companies would have to haul their loads to Short Mountain to unload.

One impact some area residents fear is that there are people who simply can’t afford to pay more, either to commercial haulers on making runs to the dump themselves. “It could end up out in the woods on the back roads,” is a fear of McKenzie Bridge resident Mike Georgio.

“I’m aware of the shortfall in Waste Management and the recommendations from the third party consultant on how to address the need to build the reserve fund,” said East Lane County Commissioner Faye Stewart. “I have asked staff to provide additional options as closing the rural waste transfer sites would be an absolute last resort for me. I’m afraid this will result in illegal dumping and place an undue hardship on my rural constituents that can least afford it.”

Image: Cedarwood Lodge owner Mike Georgio says he takes his pickup on a couple trips a week to the McKenzie Bridge site, primarily to recycle items.


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