Costs of dump closures questioned
August 13, 2016
Closing the dump sites is not about bucks,” Dennis Powers of McKenzie Bridge reminded the Lane County Board of Commissioners at their meeting last Tuesday. “Highway 126 is a heavily traveled beautiful area,” he noted. “A lot of dollars come into Lane County because of this.”
Powers observations were part of the messages McKenzie area residents had for the board to consider before deciding whether to approve a consultant’s report that in part recommends the closure of eight of the county’s 16 waste transfer stations. The closures were expected to help the county offset a $1.5 million annual waste management deficit.
Also opposed to the closure of the McKenzie Bridge transfer site was Marilynn Cross of Nimrod, a former consultant herself who wondered about missing data. “What are the costs of diminishing services in our rural communities?” she asked, adding that “cost” was mentioned in only two places of the 43 pages of the report she’d reviewed. Cross predicted increased costs of travel for people hauling their own garbage as well as higher rates for those contracting with local hauler, McKenzie Disposal.
Dollars, too, bothered Laura Sireci Roman of Blue River who pointed out the McKenzie site was on leased land. “A lot of things will have to be removed - like ramps and box bays, removing illegal dumping after it closes and upgrading the other transfer stations.” She also pointed out that many people living in upriver areas would be making a 60-mile round trip to the Vida dump, taking about an hour. That, she felt, was, “Motivation for those not environmentally friendly people to go right out into the woods to dump their couches and mattresses.”
Some option in the report says commercial haulers could use the other rural sites, or not use the metro area’s Glenwood site or maybe only haul to the Short Mountain landfill near Creswell.
Offering insights from a commercial hauler’s perspective was Renee Jackson, who works for McKenzie Disposal. “Once a week we’re at the top of the Pass,” she said, adding the company makes twice-a-week runs in the summertime. “To go all the way to Short Mountain is a huge cost.”
Even without the closures Jackson said she already receives a number of calls from people reporting a problem that’s likely to increase. Callers sometimes report someone else has been using their garbage cans. “If they see a can sitting along the side of the road because it’s garbage day they’ll stop and put their trash it because they can’t afford to go to a dump site.”
No decisions were made at the August 2nd meeting. East Lane Commissioner Faye Stewart said he was aware of the importance of mainrtaing a beautiful area. He promised to make sure the board’s future decision. “Would include the impact to quality of life without jeopardizing health or safety.”
West Lane Commissioner Jay Bozievich pledged to look for, “Solutions or a combination of solutions with the lowest cost for end users - either customers of the rural transfer stations or commercial haulers.”
As one of the volunteers for an Adopt-A-Highway stretch of Hwy. 126W, Bozievich said he understood the issues from often seeing the result of, “Folks that are inconsiderate enough to not tie down loads or just pitch stuff out their windows."
McKenzie River Reflections