BEND, OR -- Deschutes County’s Knott Landfill is less than 50 years old, but Director of Solid Waste Timm Schimke says it’s already near capacity, "The remaining life of the landfill is projected at only about 10 years left. And, if you’re going to site a new landfill or a new disposal facility of any sort, you need 10 years to make that happen, to get through land use, DEQ permitting and all that stuff." So, he says the county needs to start looking now at options for where its trash should go.
Schimke says there are two options on the table: trucking garbage to the Columbia Gorge, like Jefferson County already does, or build a new local landfill. Either way, he says, disposal fees will eventually increase. The big question is by how much, "The analysis we have so far is pointing toward an in-county landfill, strictly from a financial standpoint. I estimate that if we transport out of county, our tip fees will increase by about 40%; that’s very, very significant. If we go to an in-county landfill, 25 miles out [from Bend], our tip fees will increase only about 12%." But, he says selecting a site within 25 miles of Bend could be tricky, given land-use and DEQ restrictions.
On Thursday, the county will host a meeting that Schimke hopes will get the public involved in the decision-making process, "We’re hoping to lay out those two options, the pros and cons of both of those, and get the community involved – and get the pulse of the community on which way they think is the best way to go." The meeting starts at 5 p.m. at the County Services Building (1300 NW Wall St. Bend). Click HERE for more information.
Schimke acknowledges a final decision won't be easy, " We’re looking at the entire solid waste system. I mean, the driving factor is we need to figure out what we’re going to do with the landfill after it closes; but we’re looking at everything: recycling, transfer, collection, everything, as part of this system review."