Landfill Response: A petition is circulating throughout Benton County asking the Board of Commissioners to delay its consideration of any land use action at Coffin Butte Landfill. This petition comes on the heels of the county completing a sustainable materials management plan through the Talks Trash Workgroup.
The petition by Coffin Butte Facts had over 920 signatures at press time, Thursday, March 23. It is asking residents to sign the petition in order to “tell Commissioners Nancy Wyse, Xan Augerot and Pat Malone to oppose any expansion of the Coffin Butte Landfill before Benton County completes a thorough, detailed waste management plan that focuses on future resilience and includes alternatives for decreasing and redistributing materials from the waste stream.”
On March 21, Benton County Board Chair Pat Malone issued a response to the petition stating, “While we appreciate the level of interest in Benton County’s solid waste and disposal future, we have consistently asked community members, including our Planning Commission, Solid Waste Advisory Council, and Disposal Site Advisory Committee to focus their comments to the Workgroup as the “One Table” for issues related to solid waste and disposal, including Coffin Butte landfill.”
“To be clear, Benton County has not received any new application at the landfill and the County will not prematurely judge or take a position on any land use application.”
“Regarding the petition, it asks the Board of Commissioners to take action that is outside of our scope of authority under Oregon law and is asking us to take one or more actions that could jeopardize the County’s ability to manage the decision-making process, instead turning the action over to the landfill operator and Oregon courts.”
“Importantly, when any land use application is filed in the state of Oregon, a local government, including Benton County, must take final action within 150 days of receiving the complete application. If Benton County were to delay taking action, that would open the door for an applicant to take action in circuit court that could compel judicial approval of the proposal.”
“Over the past year, dozens of community members have invested substantial time and energy into that constructive effort, and we continue to ask all interested community members to direct comments to the solid waste process work group,” said Malone.
The county is asking anyone to with comments or questions to submit them to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Weekend Bus Service: Residents who reside within the City of Corvallis and rely on public transportation should not expect the weekend routes to return any time soon. The Corvallis Transit System (CTS) announced in the fall of 2022 that they were ‘forced to significantly reduce service’ due to the contractor’s driver shortage.
The city anticipated that the routes would be restored by March 1, but that hasn’t happened. “We will reinstate weekend service as soon as there are enough drivers hired and trained to proficiency,” said Tim Bates, the Transit Coordinator for the City of Corvallis.
Back on September 19, CTS announced they would be suspending Saturday and Sunday service until driver numbers can support weekend service. In addition, some underperforming routes were also eliminated in order to reallocate limited resources and sustain service to higher ridership routes.
Public Transit services in the city are provided by MTR Western Inc., a Seattle based transportation company, through a contract.
“Hiring drivers is the purview of the City’s contractor, MTR Western. They are working very hard to do so,” said Bates when asked what the city is doing to help with the process of hiring new drivers.
In a release from the city, serious and ongoing transit driver shortages have affected most transit agencies nationwide and is unprecedented in CTS history. The city has been working closely with the private company that operates our transit system to retain existing drivers and attract new ones. These efforts included higher wages and bonuses for drivers. Despite these incentives, our contractor was unable to secure the staff resources needed to perform our complete planned fall schedule.
Site Consults: Benton County announced it would be offering site consultations for property owners and builders through the Community Development Department.
“These site consultations meetings will help property owners and builders’ applicants get the information they need before investing time and money in a project and will help keep get all County staff on the same page about the whole projects from start to finish. It’s a win-win”, said Community Development Director Darren Nichols.
Residents who are installing a septic system, constructing a house or driveway can contact the Community Development Department at 541-766-6819 to schedule a consult.
By Jennifer Williams