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|Articles - February 2010|
|Wednesday, January 20, 2010|
Page 1 of 6
Small towns where trash equals cash are increasingly dependent on the huge companies that own Oregon’s dumps.
STORY BY ADRIANNE JEFFRIES // PHOTOS BY GARY OGILVIE
Arlington, population 610, gets a lot of traffic for a city with no stoplights. Eighty trucks rumble down Main Street daily, circling the downtown on their way to the biggest municipal solid-waste dump in the state.
The Columbia Ridge Landfill is 10 miles south of Arlington, neighbored by a few ranches and dozens of wind turbines spaced generously across the brown, windy plain. If viewed from above, it would look like a huge trash heap being smashed into the side of a small mountain. The sheer size is even more impressive once you realize that half the mountain is underground. The stench is wet and sulphurous.
Six-and-a-half million tons of trash is disposed of in Oregon every year. More than a third goes to Arlington, where almost 20 years’ worth of Seattle’s and Portland’s trash is buried.
Before the dump came to town in 1987, Arlington was in bad shape. The family farms that were the backbone of the local economy were dying, eventually dwindling from 350 to 50. Locals joked that the region’s two exports were wheat and kids, who moved away because there were no jobs.
The nation’s largest waste company, Waste Management, asked Gilliam County if it would be interested in being the “willing host community” for a large regional solid-waste facility. Locals were more than willing after they learned it would bring at least 35 family-wage jobs. Gilliam County Judge Laura Pryor and Arlington Mayor Dennis Gronquist went to bat for the landfill during months of land use hearings, public opposition and media scrutiny between 1987 and 1989 (“We really want Seattle’s garbage,” Pryor told the Associated Press). Most of the resistance during the two-year permitting process actually came from west of the Cascades, where people argued that trash could fly out of trucks on its way from Portland and land in the scenic area of the Columbia Gorge.
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In this week's poll, we asked readers: "Who should pay for the troubled Cover Oregon website?" Here are the results.
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Dress for Success Oregon promotes the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire, a network of support and career development tools.
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Tom Cox interviews Dr. Mark Goulston, author of Just Listen, Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone.
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BY JASON NORRIS | OB GUEST CONTRIBUTOR
Back in May, we shared a common Wall Street quote about investing, “Sell in May and go away.” Fast forward to July and the most common question we have been getting from clients is, “When is the market pullback going to occur?”
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BY MARY SPILDE | OB GUEST CONTRIBUTOR
Faced with the aftermath of the “great recession,” increasing concern about the environment and dwindling family wage jobs, we have some very important choices to make about our future.
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Portland is in the middle of another construction boom, with residential and office projects springing up downtown, in the Pearl and Old Town. OB Web Editor Jessica Ridgway documents the new wave.
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