By Starla Pointer • Staff Writer • 

Carlton council ask for money from Metro

CARLTON — Carlton officials are asking Metro, the Portland metropolitan area regional government entity, to pay a fee for using Carlton streets to truck garbage south to the Riverbend Landfill, just west of McMinnville.

Mayor Kathie Oriet and City Manager Chad Olsen attended a Metro meeting Thursday afternoon to lay the initial groundwork. They planned to make a brief statement and ask that time be set aside Nov. 29 for them to present their case in earnest.

City officials said about 16 truck and trailer rigs, each loaded with 25 tons of garbage, pass through town on their way south each weekday, and they return empty over the same route. They say the heavily laden trucks damage roads, shake buildings, emit odor and turn off tourists.

They decided to approach Metro after listening to a presentation by environmentalist and anti-landfill activist Ramsey McPhillips, who lives next door to Riverbend. He is representing the Coalition to Stop the Dump at the Metro meetings.

He said his land and life have been ruined by the landfill. He said he’d at least like to see out-of-county producers, who contribute 40 percent of the waste going into the landfill, pay their fair share.

McPhillips cited Oregon Revised Statutes 459.284, which stipulates a government body that collects a landfill fee “may apportion an amount of the charges ... and dedicate and use the moneys obtained for rehabilitation and enhancement of the area around the disposal site.” As he interprets the statute, it gives Carlton the right to seek up to $1 per ton in compensation.

He said Metro saves $14 to $15 a ton by trucking 4,300 loads of garbage to Riverbend each year, rather than sending it to a more distant landfill like Eastern Oregon’s Arlington.

Carlton should demand $1 for every ton passing through town, McPhillips said. Metro would still realize a huge savings, he said, and Carlton would receive about $107,000 a year toward repair work.

McPhillips said Metro has been able to use its savings to build parks and make other improvements, while “we’re getting ripped off.”

McPhillips said former Gov. Barbara Roberts, who sits on the Metro board, promised to see that Carlton officials had a chance to speak briefly at Thursday’s meeting in order to secure a longer time period to make their case on the 29th.

“It’s an opportune time to ask Metro for the statutory amount,” he said. “It will put it into Metro’s head that ‘Green Portland’ is destroying wine country. It’s incumbent on us to say we don’t want to be exploited, that you don’t get to do this anymore.”

Council President Ginger Williams said the succession of garbage trucks passing through town has been bothering her since at least the mid-1990s, when she owned a downtown coffee shop. “The shaking from the trucks is atrocious,” she said.

Oriet said Carlton residents have “joked for years about charging a toll.”

Two years ago, she said, Carlton had to repair two collapsed sewer mains downtown at a cost of about $34,000. They were crushed by the weight of traffic, to which the trucks contribute significantly, she said.

Jeff Lorton, a local business owner, recalled standing outside his shop when a garbage truck went by last week. Ten seconds later, an overwhelming odor wafted by, he said.

He’s concerned that could damage Carlton’s lucrative wine trade.

“Inevitably, some wine writer will be in town and will smell that,” he said. “It’s counterproductive. If Carlton is going to be economically impacted, you might as well get your dollar.”

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