By Laura Swanson
There’s been plenty of “trash-talking” in North Tillamook County since the announcement from CARTM that the Tillamook County Board of Commissioners decided to not extend the organization’s contract for operation of the Manzanita Transfer Station. At a public meeting yesterday evening, December 19th, the CARTM board faced a standing-room only crowd at the Pine Grove Community House to address questions about the future of CARTM and the Manzanita Transfer Station. Mark Beach opened the meeting with some history and introductions of the CARTM Board, making the statement, “It’s important for the community to understand that there are two separate entities here: CARTM, the nonprofit organization, and the Manzanita Transfer Station, the county-owned property.”
As an “essential service”, the county is compelled to provide solid waste and recycling services to it’s citizenry. Further, the county-owned transfer station sits on property with a deed-restriction requiring that it be continuously operated as a “dump” or transfer station. Mark Beach, area historian and CARTM Board Member provided some history of the site. “The county purchased the property from the Laneda Corporation in 1953 for $10.00 with the provision in the deed that the property always be a dump,” stated Beach.
At the December 19th Tillamook County Board of Commissioners meeting, Public Works Director Chris Laity presented the county’s plan to operate the Manzanita Transfer Station commencing in January, which was approved by the BOC. North County residents will have trash services as well as recycling on the same operating schedule as before – Thursday through Sunday from 10 am to 4 pm. Construction debris and reusable construction items will not be accepted; and the resale store will be closed. “We hope to have the transition made, and re-open the Manzanita transfer station by January 17th,” said Laity. “This is an ambitious schedule, but we want to have as short of a down time as possible.” Under the county plan, the Manzanita Transfer Station will have one full-time (40 hours week) employee, and two part-time (32 hours week) employees, with full county benefits. Job postings and hiring will take place as soon as possible.
CARTM continues to operate the transfer station and The Refindery resale store through December 30th, Thursday through Sunday from 10 am to 4 pm. The only changes in services impacted are that CARTM is no longer accepting donations of re-usable items, and the contractors’ express lane is also closed. In preparation for closing, everything at the Refindery is 50% off this weekend, and watch for more deals to come.
What can you do with your reusable donation items? If you have good quality, working household items, clothing, etc., please take them to other local resale/thrift stores, such as The Hope Chest (Nehalem or Rockaway Beach locations), or to Kit and Caboodle (Tillamook). Contractors should contact Tillamook Habitat for Humanity’s Restore to find out about recycling of construction materials. “Fortunately there are local options to continue to divert these things from out trash, and donate them to charities that benefit our local communities,” said Board Member Jenny Greenleaf.
There were comments from the crowd about violations of public meeting laws, litigation, and questioning the commissioner’s actions in the now infamous December 14th workshop. As CARTM executive director Karen Reddick-Yurka noted, “That’s probably the most watched commissioners’ workshop ever.” The CARTM board is reviewing the options and the future of the organization is yet to be determined, but be assured that CARTM as an organization is not going away. As one audience member noted, “Recycling is a religion to us here.” CARTM can carry the knowledge and experience it’s gathered in 20 years to resurrect it’s focus to move the community to zero waste, to become something bigger and better.
CARTM Board President Michael Maginnis emphasized, “Please use the Manzanita Transfer Station when it reopens in January, do not boycott it, thinking you are supporting CARTM. If we don’t use it, we run the risk of losing it.”
Nearing ninety minutes, the meeting concluded with Alan Olson commending the CARTM board for all their hard work and time, which prompted a standing ovation from the crowd acknowledging the boards’ efforts. Join Maginnis and his bandmates in Rhythm Method at the San Dune Pub tonight, December 20th for music and to make donations to CARTM employees. Mark Beach summarized with calls to action, “What can you do? Right now, support the CARTM staff that are all facing layoffs. Donations for the employees for the holidays are being collected at the Manzanita Visitors Center. Shop the Refindery in it’s closing days. Look for ways to help find a solution to continue that sense of community that’s a big part of CARTM. This is a place for the community, beyond the simple act of recycling. Lobby the county and state for better recycling standards, availability and options. And as you work around the community, remember CARTM’s mission to rethink waste, reduce, resuse and recycle.”