September 2011 meeting notes: City agencies face neighbors about septic pumper WTS

Here are the (overdue) meeting notes from our September 2011 meeting, as recorded by Erica, the secretary for Sumner Association of Neighbors (SAN).

Note: Any scorn for the tardiness of posting these notes should be heaped on Scott, not Erica. 😉

Report from Portland Police Officer Eric Zajac:
Presented offense report from past 30 days- car prowls and car theft on slight rise around Portland area.

Neighbors brought to the officers attention, suspicious activity in the vicinity of 90th and Going street.(Suspected drug dealing activity, littering, etc.) Officer Eric mentioned that more patrols could be requested. Scott has invited Mark Wells, Community Policing Officer to November’s meeting-It is possible to bring back the Neighborhood watch program- More to be discussed at the November meeting.

Guest Speakers: Regarding the WTS Situation/Update-Discussion Notes

Eric DeBerry, Bureau of Environmental Services (BES):

  • Better described BES responsibilities and how they are handling the WTS issue – how BES is overseen by DEQ and ultimately odor calls should be handled by DEQ- Emerson St. Neighbors did not feel DEQ did a thorough job of inspecting the odor at WTS.
  • WTS processes oily waste water and “septage” at this site.
  • Neighbors questioned the “chemical” spray WTS is using. It is unknown what is “chemically” being sprayed in truck bays- most likely something like Industrial “Febreeze” to cover odor. Eric stated he would try to find out what was being sprayed? (MSDS)
  • A question was brought to the floor: “Was WTS being compliant or were they “hedging”? Eric said there was no room for hedging-if WTS is unsuccessful with CU permit/odor mitigation-they would not be allowed to operate.

Michael Lefield, Bureau of Developmental Services (BDS):

  • This is a zoning/land use issue
  • Explained process in obtaining a Conditional Use permit: > WTS> Land Use review> applicant to prove to Code hearing officer odor, litter, Noise level impacts > Community comment> BDS> Code hearing officer hears BDS recommendations> Goes to City Council
  • Question: Did BDS need evidence of WTS’s operations? No, Already in violation of CUR
  • Addressed the question of the 100 ft. set back rule- WTS can ask for a variance/adjustment.
  • Our remedy for this issue is Conditional Land Use Review.
  • Made recommendations on how the NA can be effective during this process. Have Patience –this issue has a majority of BDS resources/ person power focus-but a time line is in place; have information ready (commended neighbors for being informed), be factual.

SAN wants to thank Michael and Eric for attending our neighborhood meeting, looking people the eye, and answering some very tough and specific questions from our residents with candor and respect. Special thanks to Eric because this was his first public meeting representing BES in (I believe) 16 years with the agency.

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