Man wants Portland food waste

But probability that his planned facilities will get it is slim

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BEND, Ore. -- A pair of planned composting facilities near Crescent and Christmas Valley won't be taking in commercial food waste from Portland, according to an official with the waste-handling company.

Instead, the compost will go to a company in Lane County for at least the next three years, said Dave Dutra of Recology Oregon Material Recovery.

The company runs a compost facility in North Plains west of Portland. Public outcry there about the odor of compost prompted Washington County to limit food waste coming from the city, allowing residential but not commercial waste as of April 1. Commercial waste is going to facilities in Aumsville, Eugene and Hood River, as well as two more in Washington, Dutra said. Soon, they'll go to a Lane County company, which he declined to name, under a contract that will run until at least 2016.

The development has not stopped the plans of Larry Morrison, a Tualatin trucker who wants to build compost facilities near Crescent, an unincorporated area in north Klamath County, and Christmas Valley, an unincorporated area in Lake County, southeast of Bend. Morrison has said food waste would make up about 3 percent to 5 percent of the waste brought into the operation he is planning near Crescent.

While he said recently that he would have been willing to take in waste from North Plains, he wasn't counting on it.

"It is just more or less a 'build-it-and-they-will-come' (project)," Morrison said.

Dutra said Recology uses Morrison as one of its waste haulers, but the company is not involved with his compost facility plans.

"(Hauling) is the only involvement we have with (him) or his company," Dutra said.

After learning of Morrison's plans in February, people living in and near Crescent gathered opposition to the project. Their concerns range from bad odors from the facility to possible tainted ground water.

At a meeting in February, an official with the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality said the agency planned to host a public meeting to address the concerns, but before it did, the permit Morrison had with Klamath County lapsed.

Now, Morrison said he plans to turn in a new application with Klamath County, and he said he is waiting for Lake County to review his plan for a facility near Christmas Valley. Lake County is host a public meeting May 21 in Christmas Valley about the proposed compost facility there.

If Morrison gets approval from both counties, he'll still need to get an OK from the state.