Hundreds turn out to share concerns about several possible Deschutes County landfill sites
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- "We are really concerned about the value of our properties, the land value. We also have some real concern about potential lost tax revenue for the county, so there are a number of concerns. Many of them were raised today."
Concerns like that one, shared by Rickard Road resident Todd Kane, were typical of the views shared Tuesday morning with the Deschutes County Solid Waste Advisory Committee at their packed monthly meeting.
The first meeting of the year for SWAC lasted for more than two hours as some 200 members of the public showed up to express themselves about where some of the proposed landfill sites might be located.
Concerns focused on sites near Rickard and Bear Creek roads, as well as in the Millican Valley.
After Tuesday's meeting wrapped up, incoming Solid Waste Director Tim Brownell explained what the process looks like when trying to determine a new county landfill site.
"So we're in the process, 12 identified sites now that we're working through," he said. " We're really doing a technical assessment of these sites. What we wan to do is get down to roughly three sites, and maybe three to five, ideally three sites by the end of March. I mean, this is a significant decision that the county is making, and the idea of where we would site a 100-year facility, it has people very concerned.
Kane said he was happy to see the public turnout the way they did.
"I was so impressed with the number of people that showed up, and really the intelligent comments that people in opposition to particular sites had," he said. "I'm really anxious to hear from the committee. They seem to be listening. I hope that they take our questions seriously, and we look forward to hearing back from them."
You might have noticed that the number of proposed sites dropped from 13 to 12. This is due to the owner of one of the seven privately-owned proposed sites, just east of the town of Millican, asking to be removed from consideration, "as he has plans for his property," Centola said.
Of the 12 total sites under consideration now, two are on county-owned property, two on state-owned property, one on land owned by the Central Oregon Irrigation District and seven are privately owned, Centola said. Seven are privately owned, and two of them “would like to work with us,” he said. “We have not heard back from the other five.”
The committee will hold their next meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 21 at 9 a.m. They hold meetings on the third Tuesday of each month.
Brownell encouraged anyone who might be affected by a proposed landfill site to send their concerns directly to the committee at the email address email@example.com. More information is at the county website, including links to background documents and SWAC meeting info.
"We wan to encourage the public to send us their comments, ideally in writing if we can get them through email. That would be ideal."