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Compost facility attempts to clear the air

S&H Logging hosts meeting with neighbors


by: VERN UYETAKE - Residents against a proposed composting and land mining operation have posted signs throughout Stafford.In an attempt to clear the air, representatives of a highly contested proposed composting and land mining facility in the Stafford area hosted a public meeting Feb. 6 for area residents.

S&H Logging invited neighboring residents to an open house at Rolling Hills Community Church in Tualatin. To a group of about 30 people, S&H Regulator and Compliance Director Will Gehr explained the proposed facility and its composting process. Then Gehr and David Miller fielded questions about process, smell, rodents, traffic, dust, well water and safety.

“The reason we’re even here is to have this dialogue,” Miller told the residents. “We want to be a good neighbor. ... We want to be part of the community.”

Earlier that same day, a Clackamas County hearings officer approved the facility’s design application for the site, which is located at 3036 SW Borland Road, despite hearing opposition to the proposal.

According to the county, S&H needed a conditional use permit for composting and land mining to happen on the site, which has a Borland Road address but is accessible from Stafford Road. S&H Logging’s landscaping supply store sits just southeast of the proposed composting facility — on the other side of Stafford Road.

The new composting facility will process yard debris, wood waste, vegetative food waste, produce waste, vegetative restaurant waste, vegetative food processor byproducts, crop waste and livestock manure into compost, which can be used in products sold at S&H’s retail site.

It will not compost food waste such as meat scraps or other animal products.

“It’s not going to smell. It’s not a rotting carcass. It’s not smelly meat,” Miller said.

S&H Logging plans to use aerated static pile composting, considered by many to be a state-of-the-art technique because it speeds decomposition without manipulation, using heat and moisture.

Dirt from surface mining on the composting property will also be used in S&H soil products and, along with finished compost, will be trucked from the proposed mining area to the store across the road. The resulting pit, which could be up to 36 feet deep, will be filled with engineered soil, which can be compacted to support future buildings.

S&H’s plan has three phases. At first, the compost facility would sit on the south side of the site, with mining happening in the north portion of the property. At some point, those uses would swap, with composting moving to the north end of the property and mining switching to the south.

The last phase of the project involves reclamation and redevelopment of the land. S&H plans to eventually sell the property for commercial and/or residential redevelopment.

Neighboring residents have long expressed concern about the noise, traffic and smell the composting facility would generate. They continued to question those topics at the meeting.

Traffic noise and levels were questioned.

“This sounds like tons of traffic and it sounds loud,” one woman said.

Gehr said there will be five to six truck trips generated a day from the site, traversing from the composting site to the landscaping supply store across the street.

“It will contribute to the noise, but it will be within limits allowed,” Gehr said, adding that noise-buffering berms will be installed along the property. “Frankly, I think there will be minimal impact of traffic.”

Many of the residents were concerned about the safety for the children at nearby Athey Creek Middle School and Stafford Primary School, whether it was traffic, noise, dust or water contamination.

S&H representatives assured residents that the land mining would not affect water wells in the area and that the compost would have an odor, but not an offensive smell.

“If something doesn’t feel right, let’s address it,” Miller said, offering to give out his personal phone number and meet people at the facility if there are complaints.

Another resident voiced his distrust of the company and the Stroupe family, which owns S&H Logging, based on past business operation violations.

“Based on past track records, we have no faith,” he said. “We’re hearing a lot of lies here.”

“We just feel like the little man. We don’t have a leg to stand on,” a woman said.

Mike Miller, chairman of the Stafford Hamlet said, “You’re seeing a community start to work together and make it as difficult as possible for you to move ahead. And I’d like to see you move ahead, but with a different development.”

Tim Woodley, director of operations for the West Linn-Wilsonville School District, also spoke at the meeting.

“We have great interest in safety and security of kids,” he said. “What these folks say is true. Every day there are 1,000 or more kids who rely on us to keep them safe. I have 16,000 parents who are willing to call me on any given day.

If this is a concern, trust me, I’ll be at your door. If it smells, I’ll be camped at the county. I just want you guys to have diligence with what you’re doing.”

David Miller responded: “We’re here saying, ‘Give us a shot.’ ... We have a commitment to make this OK for everybody.”

The next steps in the process before the facility can be constructed are approval of a DEQ compost facility permit, a grading permit, a DOGAMI (mining) permit and a Metro license for the composting. S&H will go before DEQ in April, but hopes to host another community meeting in March.

If S&H Logging gets all the permits and approvals, the facility could be constructed by the end of the year.

For more information, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit htp://shbark.blogspot.com.




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