Support Oregon Farmers in Fight Against Expanding Landfill

Target: Portland Metro

Goal: Compensate Yamhill Country farmers and residents for pollution and runoff from Oregon’s largest landfill

Oregon’s largest landfill, Riverbend Landfill, is threatening water, land, and air in Yamhill County. Plans in 2008 extended the life of the landfill. It is now projected to be closed in 2044 instead of 2014. Farmers and citizens in the area are starting to speak up to stop America’s largest garbage company, Waste Management, Inc., who owns the Riverbend Landfill, from polluting their land, water, and air.

Started in 1982 by Waste Management, Inc., the Riverbend Landfill now covers 85 acres and rises 135 feet tall. According to current plans, it will only continue to expand. This massive landfill is located at the bend in Yamhill River. It is close enough to the water that citizens are concerned about their water supply being polluted by toxins released into the water table. This would affect everyone in Yamhill county including well-known Oregon farms.

Five hundred family farms are within three miles of the landfill. The area hosts various types of farms including apples, wheat, hazelnut, and grapes. Half a dozen vineyards and award-winning wineries are within four miles of the landfill. If toxins leaked into the water table, these Oregon farms that help the state of Oregon achieve high acclaim as a leader in the nation’s farm-to-table movement and in wine production would be ruined.

Farmers and families in Yamhill County are worried about their water as well as their roads. Countless trucks pass through Yamhill County towns on their way to the landfill. One town, Carlton, will soon present a case for compensation from Portland Metro. Over 400 tons of trash on trucks and trailer rigs make their way to the Riverbend Landfill through Carlton each weekday. These trucks cause damage on roads that would otherwise not take such a heavy load. Carlton city officials have jumped on the bandwagon of the Riverbend Landfill protestors from Yamhill County, the most noteworthy being Ramsey McPhillips of McMinnville.

Farmers in the area are banding together to stop the expansion of the landfill and to demand compensation for hosting trash from Portland’s metropolitan area, which contributes to half of the waste in the landfill. The landfill has created a new landscape, endangers water quality, emits foul smells, and turns off tourists. Dumps like this one are Oregon’s number one cause of methane emissions.

Waste Management, Inc., a $13.4 billion Fortune 500 company, has no plans to stop expansion. It is up to Portland Metro to heed the words of Yamhill County citizens and develop a plan with Waste Management, Inc. to compensate affected areas, to stop expansion, and to come up with an innovative idea for future waste management. Yamhill County is a model of Oregonian farming that is globally recognized. Portland Metro, the Portland metropolitan area regional government entity, needs to work in conjunction with Waste Management, Inc. to formulate a plan that will save this agricultural hotspot from being buried under trash.

Support Yamhill County citizens in their fight for fair compensation from Portland Metro for damages attributed to waste headed to the Riverbend Landfill.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Portland Metro,

Yamhill County citizens are reaching out to you to work with them to make waste management fair. It is important that you listen to their needs and accomodate. They are letting you discard trash from your city in their county. Based on recent plans, the 18-story tall landfill will expand exponentially over the next 30 years. It matters that you make a fair judgement on how to handle the expansion.

You should work with Waste Management, Inc. to compensate Yamhill County for at least half of the damages caused by the landfill operations including damages to roads, land, and water. In the meantime, it is important that you begin planning a better solution for Portland’s waste so the Riverbend Landfill is closed on time.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: fotopedia.com

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