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Ron Stottler of Winston throws refuse into the trash at the transfer station in Roseburg in 2015. County officials are considering privatizing transfer stations.

Douglas County Public Works wants to know if there’s a private company that could take over operations at some or all of the county’s transfer stations.

The county currently operates 11 transfer stations, where residents can bring their trash. Currently, the trash brought to those stations is taken to the Douglas County landfill by county public works employees.

County officials issued a request for proposals last week. They hope private companies will step forward with proposals for collecting the trash at those transfer stations and carrying it to landfill sites outside the county.

Douglas County Commissioner Chris Boice said that could extend the life of Douglas County’s landfill. He also said privatization could lead to cost savings for the county and additional hours of operation for the customers. Currently, all the transfer stations are closed Mondays and Tuesdays, and some of the smaller stations are open just one or two days per week.

Boice said the move stems from a need to extend the life of the landfill. The state Department of Environmental Quality has demanded the county government create a plan to ensure it has enough money for the eventual closure and post-closure expenses once the landfill is full.

“The longer the landfill can stay open, the better we’re going to be, so extending the life of the landfill is a priority,” Boice said.

The county’s had some good news on that score. Boice said a year ago, he’d have estimated the lifespan of the landfill at about nine more years. But now, thanks to engineering reports on how well the trash in the landfill is compacting, and how much air space is left to hold trash, the county believes the landfill could continue receiving trash at the same rate and yet remain open for about 27 more years.

If the county is able to contract with a company that would collect some of the trash at the transfer stations and carry it to other landfills, that lifespan could be roughly doubled, Boice said. The county could charge an export fee on the trash, so it would continue to generate funds for the landfill closure expenses.

Boice said whether the county decides to go this route depends on what kinds of proposals it receives.

“We want to know if there’s somebody else out there that can do it cheaper than we can, and the truth is we don’t know the answer to that question yet, which is why we’re issuing this request for proposals,” he said.

Interested companies must submit sealed proposals to the Douglas County Solid Waste Department, 1036 SE Douglas Ave., Room 220, Roseburg OR, 97470 on or before 4 p.m. July 27. The commissioners will open the bids and discuss them during their Aug. 1 meeting.

Reporter Carisa Cegavske can be reached at 541-957-4213 or ccegavske@nrtoday.com.

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Senior Reporter

Carisa Cegavske is the senior reporter for The News-Review. She can be reached at 541-957-4213 or by email at ccegavske@nrtoday.com. Follow her on Twitter @carisa_cegavske

(8) comments

smedleyb

This is a perfect example of why the Home Rule Charter could have helped out county. We would have an administrator who isn't fed lies by industry and 5 county commissioners from ALL geographic areas of the county to brainstorm a solution.

Suzan Mesik

This is proof positive that our Trifecta of Twits has no real idea how to actually run anything. They've had months, if not years, to get this figured out, and all they can do is waddle about the County (when they bother to get out of Roseburg) whining about clearcutting being the only "viable" revenue source for DC. I mean, Gary Lief is asking for GAS MONEY. And yet he hasn't been out of Rsoeburg, as far as I can tell, in weeks. WE HAVE GOT TO VOTE THEM OUT. NOVEMBER IS COMING. THERE ARE MUCH, MUCH BETTER CANDIDATES THAN OUR CURRENT THREE TIMBER INDUSTRY WHORES.

NJ

"We want to know if there's somebody else out there that can do it cheaper than we can, and the truth is we don't know the answer to that question yet, ..." What? No one in the Commissioner Cadre able to do any online research before putting it out to bid? And when you're satisfied there is a private company who can pass export fees onto residents you'll hold a private meeting and hire them? Boice, you three have spent all your time on your own specialized interests and have no desire to actually take care of our county and its residents. All reaction and nothing proactive, like an understanding there was going to be costs involved with closure and post-closure DEQ landfill requirements. You've all ignored this issue and can now only come up with privatization. No foresight or responsibility.

Connerth

The BOC rarely bothers themselves with research and facts. Why start now ? In this case, let a private business take over the transfer sites . If they have to raise their fees, the burden falls on the taxpayers and the County can pass the blame to the private contractor. But will they provide more recycling services??

nr77

Anyone interested in where our tax dollars are going can read the bid documents on the County's Public Works website. It must have been in the works for months. It looks like only successful bidders get to bid on the equipment, and they get potential credit on the export tax from $15 ton to $0 ton. So the public would pay, the contractor gets the incentive, and the County gets ??? It would be nice if the Commissioners would allow the head of Public Works to speak instead of Chris Boice reporting an overly simplified story to the newspaper. The public is entitled to far more information that this news article depicts.

ralpho

Those are good potting containers the man is throwing away. Waste. This is what America does best.

smedleyb

That's what I noticed! yikes!

ralpho

ralpho

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