County extends composting permit

The Washington County Commission voted Tuesday to extend the permit for the Nature’s Need composting plant to accept food waste for one month.

The extension is intended to give the plant’s owners and North Plains residents one last chance to find a solution to the odors coming from the plant, located just outside the city limits. The plant recycles much of Portland’s food waste.

Recology, the company that owns the plant, is proposing an odor monitoring program and operating hour changes. North Plains residents near the plant complain that the odors are making their lives miserable.

The commission’s next vote is set for Jan. 22.

Metro puts natural areas levy on ballot

The Metro Council voted Tuesday to place a five-year levy to maintain its natural areas on the May 2013 ballot.

The proposed rate is 9.6 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value, which would raise around $10 million annually and cost the owner of a $200,000 home slightly less than $20 a year.

Metro owns about 16,000 of natural lands and open spaces.

The vote came despite a request from 19 mayors for more time to study the potential impact on their budgets.

State approves local Gain Share funds

Oregon will soon pay Washington County about $11.5 million owed to it under the state’s Gain Share provisions of the Strategic Investment Program. The payment was approved last week by the Oregon Legislature’s Emergency Board.

The payment represents 50 percent of the income taxes generated by new jobs created with the help of county property tax waivers.

Washington County officials have been wrestling with the state for a few months on the amount of money that should have been paid after the county provided specific breaks for local companies locating offices and facilities there. Some legislators want to reduce the Gain Share funding that goes back to counties.

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