By Ossie Bladine • Editor • 

What's that smell?

Ooh, that smell. 

A noxious odor settled into McMinnville on Wednesday causing complaints to a variety of local agencies.

"I've been getting calls about it all day," said Cassie Sollars of the McMinnville Downtown Association on Thursday.

McMinnville City Hall and Public Works started receiving complaints Wednesday, said city engineer Mike Bisset. 

In tracking down the cause, city employees learned large truck loads of manure product were hauled into town and applied to farms between the hospital and the airport, as well as near Booth Bend Road. 

"I suspect that's what the smell is," Bisset said. 

According to the National Weather Service, the low-level weather inversion observed over the last few days could be trapping smells in the area.

That inversion is expected to continue through the weekend. And to make matters worse, smoke from regional wildfires are expected to again sweep across the valley. Earlier in the week, northeast winds blew smoke from the 36 Pit fire near Estacada into the Willamette Valley, causing the air quality to reach unhealthy levels.

"(The smoke) is going to stick around through the weekend and maybe clear out early next week," said Will Ahue with the NWS. How bad will it be this time around? "It depends on how much mixing we get and how much inversion develops overnight," Ahue said.

Temperatures are expected to be near 90 degrees Saturday and Sunday.

The mysterious stench in McMinnville left many guessing. Some thought sewer work around town was the culprit. But large vacuums used in the process typically suck up any related smells, said city employee Mike Hailey. 

Others pointed the finger at the Riverbend Landfill. Waste Management spokesperson Jackie Lang said it received several calls from residents about what was described as a sewage smell. That typically is not the type of odor a landfill would produce, Lang said.

"When there are odors from a landfill, the smell is typically a garbage type odor or a gas smell," Lang said. "Anytime we receive a complaint we look at our operating data to understand how our systems are working. Our operating data over the last week has not reflected any problems.

"It's not entirely unusual that someone would smell something near that area of town and complain about the landfill odor," Lang added. "We do a great deal of due diligence with odor complaints."

Sollars said the odor was a popular topic of discussion during Thursday’s McMinnville Farmers Market. The consensus was that whatever the cause, "We just hope it goes away soon."

Web Design & Web Development by LVSYS