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The Noses Have Spoken, Compost Facility Too Stinky

Odor experts were at the composting facility that deals with Portland’s food scraps and yard debris Thursday. Strong smells from the Recology facility in North Plains mean it will stop taking commercial food waste.

The compost facility was set up to take food waste about a year ago — as an experimental franchise.


Washington County Commissioner Bob Terry  says despite Recology spending $5 million to reduce the smells, the experiment hasn’t worked. He says the county has received 1200 complaints over the last year.

“You know you have to sympathize with them.They’ve worked all their lives for their homes. They want to go into their back yard and barbecue, it’s pretty hard to do. Or have guests over to their house, it’s pretty hard to do. Sleep with the windows open at night, it’s pretty hard to do. So you have to sympathize with that.”

Paul Yamamoto of Recology concedes they have had some odor challenges, but says the company is committed to improving the situation.

He says Recology is looking at other locations to deal with commercial food waste.

Household food scraps can continue going to the plant, but the odor experts are trying to establish how smelly is too smelly.

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