By Nicole Montesano • Staff Writer • 

Council ducks landfill berm issue

Waste Management Inc. sought support from the McMinnville City Council Tuesday for a 20- to 40-foot berm it plans to build along one side of McMinnville’s Riverbend Landfill. However, the council opted to keep the city out of the issue, which is pending with the state Department of Environmental Quality.

Spokeswoman Jackie Lang termed the landfill an environmental asset in compliance with all required permits. She requested a letter of support for the project, which would extend the landfill’s life about two years while an application for extensive expansion is pending.

City Manager Kent Taylor told the council it would be difficult to justify writing such a letter without holding a public hearing, and such a hearing would surely draw a big crowd. What’s more, he said, “I can tell you there’s no staff expertise on board” capable of assessing the merits of the project.

Councilors said they didn’t relish becoming involved.

“Up to this point, it hasn’t been our battle,” said Council President Kellie Menke. “I don’t see any reason to go join it.”

“We’re going to get involved sooner or later,” said Mayor Rick Olson. “There’s no doubt in my mind. But is this the time?”

“We probably need to educate you more,” Lang responded.

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