Sponsored by Forest Grove Economic Development
Home Back Issues May 2009 Gilliam County jobs up in the dumps

Gilliam County jobs up in the dumps

| Print |  Email
Archives - May 2009
Friday, May 01, 2009


ATSLandfillsChartGILLIAM COUNTY When the unemployment figures came out in March, 35 Oregon counties were stricken by double-digit rates. But in rural Gilliam County, where the population is just 1,868, unemployment was the fifth lowest in the state: 9.8%. It had the lowest rate the month before.

Every year since 1990, which is as long as the data is available, Gilliam has had one of the lowest unemployment rates in the state.

The diversity of Gilliam’s economy is the reason why, says state senator Ted Ferrioli. Gilliam has strong wheat and cattle sales, a modestly growing tourism sector, and new wind farm developments. The county has a port and easy I-5 access, and the government is a source of stability as the second-largest employer.

And then there’s the dump.

Twenty years ago, the county persuaded Waste Management to build a dump in Arlington to process all of the solid waste from the Portland and Seattle metro areas, says Laura Pryor, who was county judge in Gilliam from 1987 to 2006. The solid waste dump is the largest in the state by far.

Waste Management also owns a chemical waste landfill in Arlington, which is the only hazardous waste disposal site in the Northwest. That dump has been there since the mid-1970s.

Today, the two facilities employ 150 people. Not all of those jobs are held by members of Gilliam’s 1,068-strong workforce, but the dump is the county’s largest employer. About another 70 locals are employed in trucking the waste, meaning the landfills directly and indirectly employ about 20% of Gilliam’s workforce.

The dumps have been stable employers as the county’s farming operations constricted, says Pryor.

Bryan Wilkins, the Arlington district manager at Waste Management, says the company has no plans for layoffs. But Gilliam could be in trouble about nine years from now, when Waste Management’s current contracts are up for renewal.

In 1990, Arlington had the only regulation-compliant solid-waste dump in the region. Now, Gilliam is surrounded by three facilities that will be fighting for Portland and Seattle’s trash, and it’s not looking good.

The fate of the dump may hinge on a barge dock that the Army Corps of Engineers says infringes on a treaty-protected tribal fishing site. Without the disputed dock, Gilliam is only accessible by rail and truck; neighboring counties have rail, truck and barge access.

“The battle we’re in with the Corps of Engineers and the Native Americans right now will tell the tale whether we have that third piece,” says Pryor. “If not, we won’t be on the same playing field.”

ADRIANNE JEFFRIES
 

Comments   

 
kaileb gilliam
0 #1 A Good Ideakaileb gilliam 2009-08-27 18:14:52
I think that the Gilliams should find some of there unemployed family and put in a good word for an easier life and to not look like a laughing stock.
Quote | Report to administrator
 

More Articles

Creating a culture of compliance

Business tips
Thursday, June 19, 2014
DataBY MONICA ENAND | GUEST CONTRIBUTOR

Nine tips for building habits among employees to respond when needed.


Read more...

The business of running a food cart

News
Thursday, June 05, 2014
OBM1BY HANNAH WALLACE | OB BLOGGER

What does it take to launch and run one of these mobile food businesses?  


Read more...

OB Video: Oregon MESA

News
Thursday, June 26, 2014

ThumbOregon Business hosts an informal roundtable discussion about the Oregon MESA (Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement) program.


Read more...

The global challenge

News
Friday, June 27, 2014
062714 thumb globalmarketBY JASON NORRIS | OB BLOGGER

Over the last several months we have seen a wave of cross-border acquisitions, primarily U.S.-based companies looking to purchase non-U.S.-based companies. There are a few reasons for this, but the main culprit is the U.S. corporate tax system. The United States has one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world.


Read more...

Q&A: David Lively of Organically Grown Co.

News
Tuesday, July 01, 2014
OGCLogoBY HANNAH WALLACE | OB BLOGGER

Demand for organic food continues to soar: Last year, sales of organic food rose to $32.3 billion — up 10% from 2012. In Oregon, organic produce wholesaler Organically Grown Co. has been championing organic growing methods for four decades.


Read more...

Trends in business succession

News
Thursday, July 03, 2014
TrendsBY TED AUSTIN & MIKE BAELE | GUEST CONTRIBUTORS

The Office of Economic Analysis announced that Oregon is currently enjoying the strongest job growth since 2006. While this resurgence has been welcome, the lingering effects of the 2008 “Great Recession” continues to affect Oregon businesses, especially with regard to estate planning and business succession.


Read more...

Updated: Disrupting innovation

News
Tuesday, July 08, 2014
070814 thumb disputive-innovationBY LINDA BAKER  | OB EDITOR

The New Yorker recently published a sharply worded critique of “disruptive innovation,” one of the most widely cited theories in the business world today. The article raises questions about the descriptive value of disruption and innovation  — whether the terms are mere buzzwords or actually explain today's extraordinarily complex and fast changing business environment. 

Update: We caught up with Portland's Thomas Thurston, who shared his data driven take on the disruption controversy.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS