By Nathalie Hardy • Columnist • 

Landfill berm hearing slated for Thursday

The hearing is set to run 6 to 9 p.m. at the McMinnville Senior Center, 2250 N.E. McDaniel Lane.

The first hour will be informational in nature. The agency plans to begin accepting formal testimony at 7.

Earlier this month, DEQ announced its tentative approval of a mechanically stabilized earthen berm for the landfill, subject to final consideration after interested members of the public have been given a chance to weigh in.

Proposed by Houston-based Waste Management, Inc., the 40-foot berm would provide space for about 1 million more cubic yards of waste, extending the landfill’s life by about two years. Otherwise, it is expected to reach capacity before its expansion proposal has cleared the land use process, as opponents have been filing appeals at every step.

The Stop the Dump Coalition, leading the opposition, has responded by announcing plans for a One Million Ton March. It is slated to begin at the corner of Highway 99W and McDaniel Lane at 5 p.m. and proceed to the center, about a block east.

Spokeswoman Ilsa Perse said the demonstration would be the first of its kind for the group.

At the hearing, she said, members plan to present new information to the DEQ in hopes of changing the agency’s ruling. She said they do not view the berm permit as a “done deal.”

The agency will also be accepting written comments through 5 p.m. Friday, April 5. They may be faxed to 541-298-7330, e-mailed to, posted at or mailed to Bob Schwarz, Permit Engineer, Oregon DEQ, 400 E. Scenic Drive, Suite 307, The Dalles, OR, 97058.

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