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Readers’ Letters

Metro has a plan

for St. Johns landfill

St. Johns resident Ray Piltz is certainly right in his recollection that there were all types of waste Ñ some of it extremely hazardous by today's standards Ñ disposed of in the St. Johns landfill during its operative years (Fresh questions seep into dormant landfill issue, May 30).

The good news is that Metro has invested more than $36 million to implement numerous environmental protection measures on the 238-acre landfill.

These protection measures include covering the garbage with a thick layer of compacted earth and silt, as well as a thick plastic cap to keep rainwater from leaching pollutants into the groundwater; collecting landfill gas and properly burning it or recovering it for energy; repairing the perimeter earth dike in several vulnerable places in order to keep buried waste out of surface waters; and regularly monitoring groundwater quality and landfill gas emissions.

Our role of caretaker of this landfill continues. As part of the landfill closure permit process required by the state Department of Environmental Quality, Metro will be conducting a risk assessment and feasibility study to further identify environmental impacts of the landfill and to develop any necessary remedial actions.

Information about this process will be available through both the Department of Environmental Quality and Metro.

Rex Burkholder

Metro Councilor, District 5

Northeast Portland

Turn in gas mower,

and you may be sorry

I read the Tribune and usually enjoy the content; I cannot say that for the recent article about lawn mowers (Cut the gas to hack the grass and earn some cash, May 23).

I operate three Stark Street Lawn and Garden stores in the Portland area. I have worked with power equipment for more than 30 years and have a degree in business administration.

As in the past with the stuffers that Portland General Electric puts in its statements from time to time, I am very frustrated with the unmistakable spin that exists within this article to portray gas-powered mowers as filthy, noisy and just plain evil.

The facts go like this: Push mowers and electric mowers are very limited in what they will do. Push reel mowers won't work well on tall grass and won't cut tall weeds such as dandelions. The maintenance required on this kind of mower includes an average $55 sharpening at least every other year using precision grinding equipment that very few people have or can operate.

Electric mowers' motors don't respond to increased loads the way gas engines do. Cordless models require a new battery every few years, on average, at a cost of about $100. In addition, the motor probably will need replacing at about five years.

This depends on how hard the machine is used. Many people use them as hard as a gas mower, and this is one of the reasons that only a couple of manufacturers still make electric mowers: The warranty costs are too high because of use that is way beyond design limits.

The power equipment industry has made great strides in recent years with cleaner, quieter equipment, and I am impressed with the results. A Honda mower starts at around $299 and would impress anyone with its smooth, quiet performance and excellent fuel efficiency, which means much less in exhaust emissions. I would challenge PGE spokesman Mark Fryburg to tell me how much a mower like this 'stinks.'

One last thing: In most cases, a running mower that isn't 'dead,' as this program requires, is worth significantly more than $50 on the open market. How good a deal is PGE's offer?

Thomas L. Jenne

Stark Street Lawn and Garden

Southeast Portland