By Nicole Montesano • Staff Writer • 

Mac council hears from residents

Speaking during the public comment portion of the agenda, the three told the council they were responding to a presentation last month by Waste Management spokeswoman Jackie Lang, although each addressed a different issue.

They thanked the council for declining Lang’s request to support Riverbend Landfill’s application to the state Department of Environmental Quality for a berm to temporarily increase the landfill’s capacity while it seeks a long-term expansion permit.

Ellingson brought large-format photographs depicting the view from his home on Youngberg Hill Road, a view today dominated by a massive mound of trash. “That’s what you see from the west side of McMinnville,” he said.

Other photos showed views of the river passing by the fill and the masses of birds flying overhead, despite a recent announcement by the landfill that it was bringing in falcons to better control its bird population.

“Part of their permit requires them to keep a lid on the garbage,” Ellingson told the council. “For years, they didn’t bother.

“That’s why the birds are here. They’ve been eating there for 20 years.”

He told the council he understands the need for a disposal site, but said this one “is just plain in the wrong place.”

Resident Mark Davis addressed the landfill’s application to the DEQ for an air quality permit that would permit it to greatly expand the amount of pollutants it emits.

He noted many residents in McMinnville complain of odor, and odorous emissions will increase if the permit is approved.

In addition, Davis reminded the council the city is about to invest heavily in the Northeast Gateway district, to attract residents and businesses.

“The city does have an interest in the amount of garbage traveling through this community, and I would recommend that you do something about that,” he said.

The council, several members of which were sworn into office after being re-elected in November, did not respond.

In other business, councilors reacted enthusiastically to a request from Emergency Management Director Doug McGillivray to participate in a training next spring by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

McGillivray called it a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.” He noted that FEMA holds just four such exercises each year around the country, and said McMinnville isn’t likely to be the recipient of another one in the foreseeable future.

“This ranks right up there with the very best that FEMA has to offer,” McGillivray told the council.

McGillivray, who applied for the grant and training despite the long odds, said he hopes that FEMA will select his proposed scenario for the exercise — a magnitude 9 subduction zone earthquake 50 miles off the Oregon coast.

Such an earthquake – which is predicted to occur – would devastate a vast swath of the Pacific Northwest. McGillivray is hoping that all of the cities in the county participate in the training and simulation exercise, to gain as much experience and information as possible.

FEMA scouts are scheduled to visit Yamhill County in late January, he said, to gather information for planning the exercise. He said it is scheduled for late April or early May.

Councilors also voted unanimously to amend the city’s urban growth boundary document, following public hearing testimony in November and December. In order to comply with a remand from the state Land Use Board of Appeals, the amended document essentially undoes changes made in the last few years.


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