Haley Swinth

Haley Swinth

Haley Swinth

Haley Swinth

Haley Swinth

Haley Swinth

Last Thursday, the McMinnville Civic Center had quite a turn out. People trickled into the foyer, where there was standing room only. Opponents and supporters of the Riverbend Landfil lead an extremely heated debate, it was clear that the room was divided, both sides clearly announcing their support to the cause.

The commissioners, consisting of Alen Springer, Mary Starrett, and Stan Primozich face an incredulously tough and very touchy decision. Both cases provided numerous visuals and countless documentation to back up their reasoning. Waste Management provided 3D visuals, and projections to what the twenty nine acre expansion to the landfill will look like in future.

Paul Burns, director of disposal operations for Waste Management’s Pacific Northwest operations said that with this expansion Waste Management hopes to provide another nine and a half years of  use, although there will be some changes. The recycling facility will be updated; new policies will be installed so that the landfill can sustain a 9.0 magnitude earthquake. Lastly, a new green technology (that has not been chosen yet) will also be built where Mulkey RV Park stands, which is south of the landfill.

Tommy Brooks, who is a lawyer for Waste Management stated that the new and upcoming modifications to the landfill will not endanger or impact nearby farm practices, wineries or any agricultural tourism that the Pacific Northwest has so much of.

“The landfill won’t be moving any closer to neighboring farms, and can’t already increase the existing impacts.

Waste Management provides services to McMinnille’s surrounding cities, such as Newberg and Dundee. Many of the supporters of the expansion were from our neighboring towns. SP Fiber Technologies in Newberg, Andy Levine of Action Equipment and even former McMinnville Mayor Ed Gormley were all supporters of the expansion.

On the contrary, an overwhelming number of McMinnville residents strongly are against the expansion, 32 people spoke in opposition of the landfill; all with similar arguments. The argument being that the landfill lies on natural flood plains brought in by the Yamill river and its two tributaries.

“ A natural flood plain runs straight through the Riverbend Landfill, flood plains surround it and go right over the top of the landfill;.” Stated Tim Boster, of TJ Bossard Engineering.

However, some opponents did try a different approach. Jennifer Suttan a local farmer and business owner near the landfill claims that she has lost business, and that farms and surrounding businesses have been incorrectly labeled.

“Costumers lose faith in my abilities, and therefore I am losing business.”

There is no doubt that a decision needs to be made about the Riverbend Landfill, and fast. With its capacity date right around the corner, settling in 2017 the McMinnville county commissioners have a very big choice to make. Another meeting will be held on March 26th, where the three county commissioners will deliberate, and come to a verdict about the Riverbend Landfill expansion once and for all.