By Jeb Bladine • President / Publisher • 

Jeb Bladine: Be sure about plan for transfer station

Riverbend Landfill has generated so much angst and protest over so many years it’s surprising to see almost no public interest generated by plans for a new solid waste facility in McMinnville.


Jeb Bladine is president and publisher of the News-Register.

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Newspaper stories about those plans have generated only a handful of online reader comments, and little public discussion in general. Perhaps there’s enough anti-Riverbend sentiment to make any alternative preferable.

That’s not to say Recology’s proposed solid waste transfer station on Orchard Avenue is a bad idea. However, officials owe it to the community to make sure all the right questions are asked and answered in the process.

Our report on a December presentation to the McMinnville City Council indicated that expansion of recycling operations would occur on the site “even if it were not the logical place to develop a transfer station.” Five short months later, the council should be sure this is where it wants to locate an in-town solid waste center.

As quoted this year in an industry publication, California Waste Management Board veteran Paul Relis said, “Odor is one of the biggest problems facing compost facilities, landfills, and transfer stations. The problem is not going to go away; it’s only going to get more acute, which means the industry is going to have to find ways to coexist with our neighbors because the transfer station is a vital piece of municipal infrastructure.”

The Forester Media article included discussion about rapid movement of waste through transfer facilities; ventilation and exhaust systems; facility design requirements to facilitate cleanup and reduce odors; adequate space so trucks can move in and out quickly; rapid door closure systems; cleanup procedures; avoidance of over-use causing waste storage where it wasn’t originally intended; operating adjustments based on weather; and more.

Transfer station plans originally were part of a negotiation process for Recology to elicit lower disposal rates from Waste Management, owner of Riverbend. But WM has resisted those proposals, perhaps because it can charge full price from out-of-area disposers. And perhaps removal of Recology waste from Riverbend actually would extend the landfill’s lifespan, although that remains subject to complex legal proceedings.

The proposed transfer station is near a major city park, residential neighborhoods and the new Northeast Gateway development area. McMinnville City Council, which has been an outspoken opponent of Riverbend expansion, should be certain this long-term decision is the best one.

Jeb Bladine can be reached at or 503-687-1223.


Don Dix

Sure Jeb, rattle the cage and see what growls! Besides, there is no guarantee someone won't temporarily throw up a chinchilla ranch in the area to produce a point of contention.

You and I have been witness far too long to believe this proposal will fly smoothly without real as well as twisted logic. Just be patient ... it will happen!


Odor is one concern....truck traffic is another. The transfer station idea is great,(and long overdue).... the location, not so much.....

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