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Portland trash problem lands in N. Klamath town

By Brittany Weiner
Published On: Feb 13 2013 01:04:46 AM CST
Updated On: Feb 13 2013 01:57:56 AM CST

A Tualatin-based trucking company now has a hand in the compost industry, but their first business venture could be dumped, if some residents of the small northern Klamath County town of Crescent get their way.

CRESCENT, Ore. -

A Tualatin based trucking company, now has a hand in the compost industry, but their first business venture could be dumped, if some residents of the small northern Klamath county town of Crescent get their way.

"The smell, water problems -- we have some of the best water in the country, and we have wetlands right over here,” Crescent resident Gary Journey said Tuesday. “We object to the idea of putting Portland’s garbage in our area."

Journey owns Journey Salvage, a business in Crescent ,just one mile down the road from the compost pile. He is one of several residents fighting plans by a Tualatin company, Klamath Soil Amendments, to truck tons of Portland-area compost to his town.

"We don’t mind new businesses here, as long as they fit in to the lifestyle of the area. Stockpiling garbage isn't part of this area,” Journey said.

And fellow resident Karen Shaw agrees.

"What we fear is that is that we are considered collateral damage,” said Shaw. “There really is no concern for the people that are being directly affected."

Residents say they were in the dark about the compost operation's plans to truck in 36,000 tons of compost a year.

The DEQs public notice was published in the Klamath falls newspaper, but no one in Crescent gets that paper.

So they held a public meeting, which drew a record number -- over 160 people.

“Myself and (county) Commissioner Jim Balent stood up in-front of the crowd and fielded questions,” said DEQ Natural Resource Specialist Susan Christensen. ”Their concerns were surrounding groundwater, surface water and odors."

The community is raising objections after a similar operation in the Willamette Valley town of North Plains raised a stink -- literally. But Klamath Soil Amendments owner Larry Morrison says residents have nothing to worry about.

“I don't want to ruin anybody's home, or take their privilege or their way of life away,” Said Morrison. “We're not going to do that."

Morrison says out of the 36,000 tons of residential "green waste" they plan to bring to Crescent, only 3 to 5 percent will be food waste. The rest is yard debris or other material.

Due to the residents' concerns, the DEQ has extended the time for public comment, and will be holding a public meeting on the topic in the future. If you would like to voice your opinion about the compost site, you can contact Susan Christensen at the DEQ at 541-633-2007 or email her at christensen.susan@deq.state.or.us

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