For nearly 30 years, trash day in Portland has meant payday in rural Gilliam County.
A fleet of 50 garbage trucks arrives every day from the big city to a remote, windswept plateau south of Arlington, home of Waste Management’s Columbia Ridge Landfill and Recycling Center. The 12,00-acre dump employs 90 people — roughly 5 percent of the county’s population — and kicks in millions of dollars annually to local coffers.
The landfill faces an uncertain future, however, as Portland now considers different alternatives for disposing of its solid waste. If that happens, it may cost jobs and significant revenue for Gilliam County, which uses host fees from Columbia Ridge to help pay for things like roads, small business loans and tax rebates for homeowners.
Portland’s trash is regulated by Metro, an independently elected regional government that also runs the Oregon Zoo, Portland Expo Center and an array of city parks. When Waste Management opened Columbia Ridge in 1990, it secured 90 percent of all garbage Metro collects — up to half a million tons annually.
Read more at the East Oregonian.