By Nicole Montesano • Staff Writer • 

No landfill discussion in commissioner emails

The commissioners neither discussed the issue in their weekly meetings, nor did they hold any discussion of their deliberations on February 18, when they voted unanimously to re-approve the expansion on remand from the state Land Use Board of Appeals.

Yet, they worked with county counsel and planners to draft a lengthy set of findings and conditions for approval.

The lack of public transparency in the process has drawn widespread criticism from landfill opponents, particularly given that commissioner Allen Springer changed his vote from opposing the expansion last April, to supporting it without comment in February.

Opponents have said it is “highly likely” they will again appeal the decision. They have 21 days from February 25, when the findings were approved, to file.

In the remand, LUBA criticized the county for shifting the burden of proof from Riverbend Landfill, to prove that an expansion would not adversely affect surrounding farms, to opponents, requiring them to definitively prove that it would.

The new findings restate the county’s belief that the landfill does not and will not impact farms. However, in a “just to be sure” move, the county is requiring the landfill to take several measures, including buying all of the fruit from a neighboring farm, and paying to have another farm’s hay fields patrolled for escaped litter. Opponents have argued that the measures actually prove their point, that there is, in fact, negative impact.

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