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Friday, January 2nd

LETTERS ON SJI TRANSFER STATION


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SWAC Should Not Have Thin Skin

Dear Editor,

The SWAC Board should not take the County Commissioner’s Transfer site decision as a vote against the SWAC site recommendation.

The Chairman of SWAC (//George Post -Ed//) noted and directed the SWAC committee many times: “The SWAC Board is not to consider…..That is not the job of the SWAC Board….” For example, the SWAC Board was not to consider things like: the costs of each site, the duplication of services, the environmental issues, the taking over of services that are currently being provided by private enterprises, etc.

The SWAC Chair pointed out that considering those facts and concerns was not the job of the SWAC committee, and that the County Commissioners would consider those facts. The only job of the SWAC committee was to pick the best site for a transfer station, without considering all the factors. Many of us pointed out you can’t pick the best spot without considering all the factors, but that was not to be the way for the SWAC committee.

Thank you County Commissioners for: hearing all the concerns, and considering all of the factors and not limiting the public information that needed to be considered. In view of the cost factors, the duplication of services issues, the environmental issues, you really never had any other viable choice, other than the Sutton Road site.

The system actually worked the way it should have, and the factors that the SWAC committee was told not to consider, were finally considered. Unfortunately, it did leave some of the volunteer SWAC members with hurt feelings. The biggest problem with the SWAC Board was that it was made up of at least 7 members who had an ax to grind or a personal interest in the outcome. Volunteer Boards work best when they are comprised of members who share a wide spectrum of community interests and views.

Hopefully we can all move on to figuring out how to provide the best services for the least amount of cost to our community.

Sincerely,
Frank M Penwell
San Juan Island
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Applauds Council Action

Dear Editor,

I applaud the Council's will for choosing Sutton Road as the new transfer station site. It is honorable and wise. There remains a small problem. Public Works, the biggest supporter and standard bearer of the new site is still involved in the process, and with a mission to move the transfer station, could at the very least make future agreements difficult, or worse.

Jon Shannon (and Kevin Ranker) have been the driving force behind much of this deal from the beginning. Lets hope that the council and the town remember that his support of this decision is minimal at best, and as such his involvement could just as easily be used to ruin this legitimate vote of the council instead of supporting it.

Let clear minds prevail. The Council has spoken for the people!

Piet Visser

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Reasons Sutton Is Best Choice

Dear Editor,

I’m sure we all can agree to use common sense on selecting a site for a long-term solution to San Juan Island’s Solid Waste needs, and so to use tax-payers money wisely. It’s just not logical to spend much money on a temporary solution, when there are better alternatives.

At a recent meeting between the County Council, Public Works and the DOE, it was suggested by a councilman that an interim solution to our solid waste needs would be to bring the current site into compliance with DOE and then incorporate those improvements as part of the final transfer station. This clearly would be a waste of money.

You cannot operate the current facility and build a new transfer station at the same time in the same place. After great expense to bring the worn out infrastructure into compliance, you would have to shut it down and tear most of it down while you built the new facility. In the meantime there would need to be another interim solution.

The entire site needs to be reconfigured. The current site is constrained by landfills and monitoring wells and there is inadequate queuing room for traffic. To build a full facility, most likely will involve having to use the land where the current site is located and more rocky property down slope.

An interim structure over the tipping floor will not be adequate for reuse in the final design because A. the current size of the tipping floor is inadequate B. The tipping floor will be in another location. C. plans state that the structure will be fully enclosed.

In addition, bringing the site into compliance for a temporary solution will increase waiting times as new safety standards will need to be adhered to. Functionality will be decreased, noise issues will not be addressed, nor will vectors, you will have achieved none of your long-term goals.

On another site you can begin construction of a fully compliant, environmentally sound transfer station as soon as funding is available. You can continue to run the Sutton Rd. site as a drop box facility without spending a lot of money there. A small county-wide parcel tax to pay for infrastructure, is the realistic way to raise capitol to pay for a bond. Trying to fund what we need with tipping fees alone is why the system is currently broken.

To date, analysis shows the Sutton site is replete with problems. It’s virtually a certainty that more problems will be discovered.

Sincerely,

Richard McCurdie
Terrace Drive
Friday Harbor

To the Editor:
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Those In Charge Also Pollute
To the Editor:

I want to comment on the editorial about the transfer station by Sharon Kivisto in the San Juan Islander. I have spent most of my professional life cleaning up government pollution, and she fails to recognize that government is one of the biggest polluters in the country.

The government, by its nature in providing services to the public, owns and operates many of the things that can be directly harmful to the environment. Government sites, for instance, make up the largest contingent on the Superfund list, dwarfing the number attributable to such infamous corporate polluters such as General Electric. On a local level, government entities control solid waste facilities, treatment facilities, stormwater conveyance systems, and most of the roads (i.e., pollution generating impervious surfaces). Government should be qualified to meet its environmental stewardship responsibilities, but often there is a wide gulf between ability and responsibility.

This County lacks basic qualifications in the technical aspects of environmental protection. This County can’t even get the definition of an aquifer right in its ordinance on critical aquifer recharge. It can’t spot a defective work product (FEIS) from an environmental consultant. It can’t operate a simple transfer station compliantly, and it prefers enforcement actions against its own citizens rather than enforcement of itself.

It is hard to share Ms. Kivisto’s enthusiasm for the vision of developing a Greenfield site when a Brownfield site (Sutton Road) is available. Visionary? I don’t think so. That’s the kind of vision that has never heard of LEED or USGBC building guidelines. And it is hard to understand how the collection and storage of hazardous wastes on a Greenfield site is a motivating rallying cry.

But if you like that vision, and if you want to take the leap of faith necessary to believe in the protective powers of unqualified and unfocused government, go right ahead. That kind of thinking keeps people like me in business. One of my clients has a groundwater plume that won’t be cleaned up until 2077. Actually, it will take longer than that, but that is where they arbitrarily decided to end their planning horizon. Groundwater contamination is, in many cases, treatable but virtually irreparable.

Ms. Kivisto’s vision of the future may not be the reality that materializes. The only thing worse than having one contaminated site on San Juan Island, is having two. Bear that in mind when you consider Claudia Mills’ statements that “garbage is a growth industry here,” and she “can’t even imagine the island 100 years from now.” We can, at least, agree on that.

Brownfields (re)development is the safer choice, the more conservative choice, and the greener choice.

Ed Kilduff
Lopez Resident and LG, LEG, LHG, LEED AP
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“Objectivity” & Residential Density
To the Editor:

A letter recently published in The Island Guardian titled “Objectivity & Site Selection” states that “the sheer number of residences that would be affected at the Beaverton Valley site appears to be much larger” than at the Sutton Road site, “perhaps 40 to 50 such parcels.” These figures are meaningless, however, because no distances from the sites are stated.

The table below shows the actual counts for various distances. The areas around both sites were thoroughly field checked so as to include only residences and not other buildings that are also shown on the County Assessor’s maps, such as garages, sheds, studios, barns, and missing structures. Two residences, one near the Sutton Road site, the other near the Beaverton Valley Road site, and both on the 1500-foot circle, were not counted because of the likelihood of noise shielding by intervening topography; and one inaccessible structure just inside the 1000-foot circle at the Beaverton Valley Road site was counted as a residence, but it likely is an outbuilding. Although the Assessor’s maps date from 2003, only one newer residence was found. The maps below are the County Assessor’s maps with additions to show the counting circles (red), the residences counted (green), and the two not counted (green). The scale bars on the maps are 685 feet long.

Counts of residences within various distances of the Sutton Road and Beaverton Valley Road sites
Distance from
tipping floor ....Sutton Road....Beaverton Valley
Up to 750 ft....... 6....................0
Up to 1000 ft......14..................4
Up to 1500 ft......35..................27

Ronald L. Shreve
San Juan Island
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Time Changes Things
To the Editor:

When I first moved here in the early seventies the dump looked like a guy named Tony Schimdt sitting on the back of his pickup truck with the tailgate down. It was parked next to a big hole in the ground. All the good stuff went in the back of the truck. The rest went into the hole no matter what it was. It all seemed so easy and simple.

Given the chance, I would have voted to keep it the way it was, but it just didn’t work any more. Since then another 6,000 people have moved here and now the current version just doesn’t seem to work any more either. According to the GMA projections, the population is expected to triple in the same amount of time. We can put more patches on the current version or maybe upgrade to Dump 3.0. Most computer users know that old systems become dysfunctional eventually. After that you need to switch to a new platform, one that works. It is never easy, but it is always best.

It is critical that you sift through the comments today to find facts that pertain to the issue at hand. We need to look beyond the bickering in order to make a good invest in our infrastructure so that it can become sustainable. Most of the information at hand and all of the studies have determined that the Beaverton Valley site is the best one to go forward with. The Sutton site has too many unknown variables and is too risky to bet taxpayer money on. The next unknown comes next month when the Department of Ecology addresses the water report.

Not all failed institutions deserve a bailout. You need to ask yourself if you want to continue throwing money down a bottomless pit the same way that we threw toxic waste into the hole next to Tony’s truck. The toxic material never disappeared but the money did and will continue to disappear down the same hole. May I ask the Council to seek a long-term solution to the problem, one that includes future residents as well as those of us who live on the island now?

The reason we find ourselves in so many predicaments today has been the result of our collective failure to make hard choices. This is one of those hard choices that we do need to make. Let’s not hand over another problem to the next generation to solve. This is our last chance to make it a good choice. We must make this a decision within which our children and their friends can live.

Lee Brooks
San Juan Island
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NIMBYS
To the Editor:

SWAC chairman Post said the controversy of locating the dump “is from those who are close to one of these sites,” in a review of the presentation to the Council by The Guardian. After reading comments by voters in The Guardian, I seriously doubt the accuracy of his statement. But it did get me to thinking.

Many years ago, someone came up with the acronym NIMBY, a cute little word that means “not in my backyard.” Think of the influence of language. That little word has greatly affected our attitudes toward the opinions of people who live close to controversial issues. The very words themselves conjure up a picture of someone in a rage standing with their feet apart and their hands on their hips and shouting, “NOT IN MY BACKYARD!”

In San Juan County, people like Mr. Post disregard the opinions of islanders based on their physical addresses. And, worse yet, county government seems to nod in agreement. (Oh, well, they live in Beaverton Valley, so we will discard that comment.) If you analyze this attitude, it seems counter-productive at best. At worst, it is prejudicial, undemocratic, and totally unproductive. Taking it out of the context of the transfer station, look at an issue like the Ferry Advisory Committee. Do we require members to be non-ferry riders so that their opinions won’t be tainted by a NIMBY attitude? Do we ask that our representatives and senators live somewhere outside of Washington state so that their votes will be more objective?

Who would know more about a location than the people who live in that location? Who would know more about traffic, run-off, climate, birds, walkers, or noise than a neighbor? Do we need an acronym for neighbors in the vicinity? A word like NIVY? And if we did have a word like that, would we then value the opinion of NIVY even more than the opinion of a non-NIVY? I live in Beaverton and I cannot express the frustration with my opinion being discounted on the transfer station because of my physical address. Neither would I want my opinion valued more than any other well-informed voting citizen. That’s the way a democracy works, and that is the way such an important decision as the transfer station should be decided for our county.

Diana Clark
San Juan Island
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Leaving Aside the NIMBY issue
To the Editor:

I have just finished reading Claudia Mills' guest editorial posted on the San Juan Islander web site. Her comments are well-explained and thoughtful, and I thank her for sharing her extensive knowledge and opinions on the existing county dump and its proposed relocation.

For a moment I'd like to move the discussion away from the "NIMBY" comments and towards another issue which seems to be among the numerous missing issues of this process: that of road safety and new road construction costs.

The current Sutton Road dump site is on Roche Harbor Road and less than two miles out of town. This road currently enjoys two smooth, wide traffic lanes and ample shoulders allowing for safe travel for motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians. Once a driver turns onto Sutton Road the entrance to the current dump is about one-tenth of a mile. No residences are passed on Sutton Road, and most of the residences on Roche Harbor are set considerably away from the road.

The recommended Beaverton Valley site is an entirely different case. Driving down Guard Street past the library (and its newly-configured tight curve) one encounters a narrow road with very narrow or non- existent shoulders. Immediately past the town line at the Opalco building is the only entrance to the Foxhall subdivision with its (soon to be) 50-plus residences. Just a little way further is the entrance to the North Forty neighborhood with its 21 residences. Directly across the street from the North Forty entrance is Juniper Lane Guest House, a year-round operation with 6 guest room accommodations. The entrance to the potential Beaverton Valley site is about one-quarter mile from this point, just before the expanding Saltspring Business Park.

Beaverton Valley Road is currently a rather dangerous walk or bicycle ride because of narrow or non-existent shoulders. The road already has to handle heavy usage by numerous construction trucks barreling into town from Lawson's gravel pit and other construction supply businesses. I have never felt safe walking or bicycling this stretch of road. One can only imagine how much more dangerous this narrow stretch of county road will become when hundreds of cars and trash trucks are using it. Add to that traffic the entire fleet of Department of Public Works dump trucks and other maintenance vehicles which are planned to be relocated to the same site (evidently DPW wants to relocate the entire fleet and crew there, too!) and it is clear we will have a potentially lethal stew of vehicles of all sizes, tourists and residents all vying for a place on narrow, busy "Beaverton Highway."

There has been inadequate discussion or attention to safety issues along Beaverton Valley Road. And, if the county is mandated to widen the road (as it clearly will be), how much will this add to the cost and the entire project?

I'll leave the other discussions of potentially damaging pollution to two watersheds, aircraft hazards, well-water quality, reflected and amplified noise to others. But I feel that the safety of using Beaverton Valley Road must be part of the equation before giving the green light to re-siting the transfer station to Beaverton Valley Road.

Michael D'Abrosca
San Juan Island
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Objectivity & Site Selection
To the Editor:

In response to the recent guest editorial by Claudia Mills that appeared in the San Juan Islander, I note that Claudia Mills writes, regarding the transfer station issue, as someone who lives within ¼ mile of the Sutton Road solid waste site, but seems to suggest that the views of neighbors of the Beaverton Valley site are somehow less valid because of their proximity to the proposed new transfer station -I suppose because some degree of self-interest might be involved in the formation of their views.

Well, I live approximately ¼ mile away from the Beaverton Valley site, so I suggest that my level of objectivity is, therefore, about the same as Claudia's.

I oppose the relocation of the transfer station to Beaverton Valley for a number reasons:

1. A workable plan for improvement of the Sutton Road site exists. The site has not been determined to be unacceptable. Indeed, I note (as the did the Journal of the San Juan Islands in a recent editorial) that Public Works apparently found the current site perfectly acceptable when it bought land and started to build its Trash to Treasures operation there a few years ago. As the editorial said, “If the county could build Trash to Treasures on the site then, we can't see why it is so unsuitable now. We doubt that had Trash to Treasures been developed, the county would be looking for a new site.” (Journal of the San Juans, January 7, 2009).

2. The SWAC report suggests that the cost of developing the Sutton Road site would be greater than the Beaverton Valley site. As far I can tell, the SWAC assessment does not take into account the original cost of acquiring the Beaverton Valley property, ancillary costs such as road improvements, or the opportunity to make incremental improvements at the Sutton Road site as funds become available. The last point would seem to be of particular importance in the current economic climate.

3. The environmental impacts of selecting the Beaverton Valley site have not been adequately evaluated or considered. If you actually do any meaningful comparative analysis of environmental issues, it is abundantly clear that the Sutton Road site is the one with the least actual and potential negative environmental impacts:

 The Beaverton Valley property has residential neighborhoods on three sides of the proposed site. They will all be affected by one or more of the environmental impacts that come with development of a transfer station (noise, visual pollution, vermin/vectors, odors, possible contamination of ground water, traffic). The Sutton Road site is abutted by residences on only one side. And the sheer number of residences that would be affected at the Beaverton Valley site appears to be much larger -perhaps 40 to 50 such parcels.

 San Juan County Resolution 40-2003, relating to the acquisition of the Sundstrom property adjacent to the Sutton Road transfer station, concluded in paragraph 9 (c) that “The Sundstrom property immediately abuts the existing solid waste facility owned by the Town of Friday Harbor, and is served by Sutton Road, the public road access to the Town of Friday Harbor facility. This readily allows for phased relocation of the facility, allows potential for future sharing of facilities by the town and the county, and would not relocate traffic and noise generated by the facility to a new location on the island. By its topography, sloping down to the southwest toward Roche Harbor Road, it has the potential to reduce noise impacts on area residents below the levels they currently experience from use of the existing site.” (Emphasis mine.) Meanwhile, please note that the topography of the Beaverton Valley site (in a valley with many residences above) is likely to have the opposite effect -magnifying rather than reducing the noise impact. Please note also that, according to the draft EIS, the Beaverton Valley site is the only one of the sites considered where some neighboring properties might experience noise exceeding acceptable levels. And the EIS did not even bother to address the impact of noise at lesser volumes that would be audible on nearby properties and which could constitute an ongoing nuisance even though not exceeding specified decibel levels. By no stretch of the imagination does the Beavertion Valley site allow for buffers sufficient to contain the noise of the transfer station operation.

 The Beaverton Valley site straddles two watersheds, thereby putting both at risk in the event of a contamination incident.

 Virtually all of the residences surrounding the Beaverton Valley site rely on wells tapping ground water sources that would be at risk of contamination from waste handling operations (including, for example, the 21 homes in the North Forty that rely on a 600 foot well about 1,000 feet east of the proposed transfer station and its proposed detention pond). Since properties neighboring the Sutton Road site have Town water, I am under the impression that no wells would be put a risk by continued operations there.

4. Might there not be better and higher uses for the Beaverton Valley site than contaminating it with another waste handling operation? Affordable housing? The new hospital? I believe that such uses would be a far more beneficial than creating yet another transfer station when the existing one can be brought up to standard. With a little thought, many other more beneficial and more compatible uses might be identified.

5. Apparently the SWAC has rejected mandatory trash collection and curbside recycling as means of reducing the footprint and operational scale and costs of the transfer station. I urge reconsideration of these options. We are no longer living on the frontier where self-hauling of trash might be seen as some sort of a right. Reasonable limitations on self-hauling would constitute a relatively minor inconvenience in comparison with the major sacrifices that would otherwise be asked of those who would become neighbors of an industrial scale waste management facility.

6. There are really only two essential public functions at issue here: waste transfer and recycling. Trash to Treasure and composting might be beneficial but are hardly so essential as to justify constructing a new facility regardless of cost in terms of dollars and in terms of injury to surrounding neighborhoods and to the environment in general. With those nice-but-not-absolutely-necessary activities removed from the mix, many more appropriate options for managing the essential functions seem possible -including reducing the cost of upgrading the Sutton Road site.

Claudia Mills writes with much concern about the plight of Hillview Terrace residents who live near the Sutton Road site, but she seems to have no such sympathy for the much larger number of households that are close enough to the Beaverton Valley site to be affected by noise, odor, vectors, light pollution, and other such impacts. She even notes that Public Works has not been a good neighbor to the Hillview Terrace properties, but rather cavalierly seems to presume that Public Works' will suddenly become a model neighbor in Beaverton Valley. I have no such confidence. And I have to wonder whether even Public Works Director Jon Shannon shares Claudia's confidence, since he acknowledged at a 2006 community meeting that he would not want to have the transfer station in his neighborhood.

She makes no mention at all of the issue of wells. As I have noted, the Beaverton Valley site is surrounded by residences that rely on wells for their water supply. An accident or failure to manage the site with adequate care (refer to the manner in which the current site has been operated) risks contaminating groundwater supplies. The near neighbors of the Sutton Road site are on the Friday Harbor water system and have no such concerns.

Claudia is very concerned about drainage from the Sutton Road site into Beaverton Cove, but fails to note that the Beaverton Valley property is even closer to the very important Beaverton Valley wetland (“buffered” only by Beaverton Valley road itself) which is part of the same system that includes the wetland below Sutton Road and which, therefore, also drains into Beaverton Cove. So with development of the Beaverton Valley site we will find ourselves with two waste management sites in the wetland system and watershed draining into Beaverton Cove. It is also important to realize that the Beaverton Valley site actually straddles two watersheds (False Bay watershed as well as the Beaverton Valley wetland system), thus putting both at potential risk.

She notes that an “angry public” does not want to sacrifice self-haul in order to make possible a transfer station with a smaller footprint. But she does not seem to care that prospective transfer station neighbors might be similarly (and reasonably) angry at the prospect of having the peaceful enjoyment of their homes disrupted by the proposed project. Mandatory curbside collection could dramatically reduce the impact on either Sutton Road or Beaverton Valley neighbors and help to make the transfer station a better neighbor itself because of the reduced level of activity that would result. I will advocate for mandatory curbside collection of both trash and recyclables wherever the transfer station is ultimately sited. I do not consider the convenience of self hauling to be more important than a) the well being of transfer station neighbors or b) the cost savings that would likely result from being able to construct and operate a site with a smaller footprint and a lower level of activity.

Claudia is correct in noting that the Beaverton Valley site is, indeed zoned RGU, but RGU is not an “open season” zoning classification and RGU uses do not inevitably entail activities that will disturb or damage neighboring residential properties. Indeed there are procedures that enable nearby property owners to intervene to assure that they do not. Most, I believe, are likely to require conditional use permits that will ensure compatibility. You may be certain that we would have exercised (and will exercise) our right to oppose any uses, public or private, that would have impacts similar to those of a transfer station. Any of us who may have purchased our properties after this zoning was established, will have done so in the reasonable expectation that regardless of the RGU designation, incompatible uses would not be permitted. I imagine that most would expect local government to be active in preventing incompatible uses rather than being in the position of perpetrating one. Perhaps that will prove to be an overly optimistic view (I hope not), but it is not tantamount to purchasing property adjacent to a long-existing waste management site and then objecting to its presence. It is disingenuous to suggest otherwise. In any event, why should we recreate the exact circumstances in Beaverton Valley that Claudia Mills and Hillview Terrace residents find so unacceptable at Sutton Road?

This is the kind of operation that should be in a remote location, not in the middle of several neighborhoods. That was, I believe, true when the Sutton Road site was first developed, before the Hillview Terrace neighborhood existed. But this is an island that has undergone widespread development. There simply may no longer be any place on San Juan Island that can reasonably accommodate an operation of the scale that Public Works and many people desire -with unlimited self-haul options, weekend operating hours, composting, trash to treasure, etc. It may well be that there is no equitable option that does not involve significant compromise on these and related points.

Finally, I would like to point out that, contrary to Claudia's assertion that Beaverton Valley neighbors have been uninvolved except for a recent flurry of letter writing, we have, as individuals and as a community of neighbors, been making our concerns known in a variety of ways since the summer of 2006 when the intent to site the transfer station in Beaverton Valley was first announced (by then-Commissioner Kevin Ranker and Jon Shannon) at a meeting of concerned neighbors. My first letter on the subject was to the county commissioners in August 2006. Our efforts have continued despite the very discouraging and disconcerting assertion, at that same meeting, that the relocation to Beaverton Valley was going to happen and that our best course of action would be to accept that inevitability and focus on the process of planning the new transfer station. Fortunately we have not done so and continue to exercise our entirely legitimate rights to question the Beaverton Valley proposal and the wisdom of the SWAC recommendation supporting it.

Bill Hamilton
Friday Harbor
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A Flawed FEIS
To the Editor:

I believe there is a flaw in the FEIS for the San Juan Island Transfer Station relating to ground and surface water. I’d like to make the following brief points:

1. Of the 39 comments received by the DEIS, 20 expressed concerns about surface and/or ground water. Nevertheless, the FEIS included no environmental analysis of these topics. Instead, the FEIS made the claim that the new transfer station would be designed and operated so as to prevent impacts to surface and ground water. The response given to David and Jane Cable is typical: “Contact with groundwater in the vicinity of the new operation will not be allowed, and will be regularly monitored by the County Health Department. Proper design of new facilities will ensure that groundwater contamination is not an issue.”

2. This and other FEIS responses tell us that the County will be relying entirely on mitigation measures to protect surface and ground water (e.g., engineering/design controls and institutional controls). But the FEIS can’t have it both ways. If it claims the need for a mitigation measure, it must include an analysis of the potential problem within the document.

3. No analysis of surface or ground water is included in the FEIS, and the DEIS contained mostly raw, un-analyzed geologic and hydrogeologic data. The DEIS discussion was not concise, clear, and to the point (WAC 197-11-400-3). It did not provide an analysis that decision makers or the public might find useful for comparing the risks associated with each alternative. I would be surprised if anyone understood the relevance of the hydrogeologic data in the DEIS. I know I did not understand it, and I am a professional hydrogeologist.

4. The FEIS response regarding ground and surface water mitigation is not credible. The County cannot offer warranties of protection as the guarantor of surface and ground water quality. There is too much evidence to the contrary, including evidence within the FEIS itself (February 4, 2009 DOE letter) and in the news headlines. Every new DOE inspection of the current facility turns up compliance problems. The DOE findings are not just a condemnation of the physical state of the current facility, but of the County’s management and compliance capabilities too. Findings include operational deficiencies (e.g., wastes outside of designated areas) that may directly affect ground and surface water. Deficiencies in such institutional controls are systemic to the County and might crop up even in a brand new facility at any of the proposed alternatives. That is why an environmental analysis of the natural protections/risks for each proposed location is so important.

Ed Kilduff, LG, LEG, LHG and LEED AP
Lopez Island
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Sell Beaverton Valley Site, Use Money On Sutton Rd Site
To the Editor:

I think the County should sell the Beaverton Valley property to PeaceHealth for the new integrated medical center - Beaverton Valley Hospital. The name even sounds fitting, like it came right out of a television show!

Then take the money from the sale and make the required mitigations to the current dump, which needs to stay where it is. We already have a thrift store and Consignment Treasures for larger building items and appliances. Why take away from those two philanthropic entities that support a segment of our society and move away from the current site because it isn’t large enough to contain those unnecessary duplicative endeavors. Without those two operations, the current site, along with the additional 7 acres is perfectly ample for an upgraded transfer station.

As far as converting the current site to a drop box facility in the next two to six weeks, this is unacceptable to the citizens and construction industry on San Juan Island. The cost of construction is already much higher due to our remote situation, now the County is being asked to compound this by imposing an additional hardship - requiring a dump-truck trip to Orcas Island for any haul-out, a cost that will ultimately be conveyed to the property owners through their contractor. http://www.sanjuanco.com/News/Countynews.aspx?NewsItem=90

It is no secret that construction is currently at a record low, which means CONTRACTORS ARE AVAILABLE to do the work necessary to fix the current dump in an acceptable time-frame.

Stop the bleeding now, sell the Beaverton Valley property to the hospital and use the money to bring the current dump up to code.

Harold R. Brown
Town of Friday Harbor
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Shannon Deserves To Be Replaced
To the Editor:

After reading your excellent reporting (article)on the matter of Jon Shannon and the Sutton Road site there is only one course of action in my opinion. Jon Shannon must be replaced with someone that has the best interest of this county at heart. If there was ever a case of incompetence in a public official this is it. It has been reported that he does not even have an engineering degree. Is this true? How could he be in charge of Public Works if he didn't?

I am beginning to get the impression that the county government thinks they are a branch of the Federal system and have access to the US Mint. How can the Commissioners be so ignorant of the citizens wishes in this matter?

And if the Council members are listening, HEAR THIS:
As tight as money is around my place I will still go on record here and pledge to give money to support any lawsuit that is started to force the San Juan County to leave the Transfer Station where it is and sell the Beaverton Road site to pay for it.

It is time for rational people to take back control of this county.

Joseph Foggia
Friday Harbor
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Shannon Deserves Something
To the Editor:

Shannon hasn't done much to make the transfer station comply with code. He single handedly put it out of compliance by taking down the tipping floor cover.

If this article doesn't show what his plan is I don't know what else he has to do to demonstrate he has an agenda. Maintaining the Transfer station in compliance is his job, yet he has done nothing to keep it in compliance, and now is calling for every agency possible to inspect and show what an awful job he has done. Wouldn't you get fired for that kind of incompetence?

I guess Jon figures that he should get a new transfer station for his "stellar" work.

Piet Visser
(somewhere in Europe)
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Bigger Would Be Better
To the Editor:

We have just returned from our more-or-less monthly trip to the San Juan Island recycle and waste transfer station. We have to report that this was yet again not a pleasant experience.

When we first moved to the islands, ten years ago, we lived for our first year on Orcas Island. There we discovered a wonderful system of handling solid waste. Central to our trips to the "dump" that year was bringing some of our belongings that we no longer needed and giving them to the crew of volunteers. They organized what one family didn't want is such a way that others on the island could find items and take them and put them to good use. Often when we needed something such as an old door to make a work table in the garage, we would go to the Orcas Island transfer station and come home with a very serviceable door saving money for ourselves and reducing the volume of solid waste disposal for the County. And friendships were created and community conversations often ensued -- sort of as happens now at the Friday Harbor Farmer's Market.

At our transfer station on San Juan Island, no such community bonding or community reuse is possible. Instead we have a small and smelly and dirty little station set among the wasteland of false hills of hidden garbage and eroding piles of dumped dirt killing the trees.

San Juan Island should move the transfer station to a larger site where a 'trash to treasure' system of reuse could be created. We are sure that as on Orcas a cohort of able bodied volunteers will come to the fore to manage this aspect of the transfer station and properly designed garbage and recycling sections will be much more pleasant to use and much less likely to be polluting the air and groundwater.

Sincerely,

Val and Leslie Veirs
Smugglers Cove
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Open Letter To County Council
Dear members of the County Council:

Garbage facts:

1. There is no reasonable way to deal with the County’s solid waste, (garbage) except to ship the garbage, via transfer stations, to the mainland where legal and permitted facilities can handle the waste in an environmentally responsible manner.

2. There is adequate space at the Friday Harbor dump site to operate a transfer station to handle the current and future solid waste stream for San Juan Island and the Town of Friday Harbor.

3. There are several existing designs that allow better entry and egress for the large transfer trucks and trailers as well as self haul and commercial users at the current site. These designs have already been paid for. No money is needed to do further studies.

Proposal:

A.) Improve the existing Friday Harbor/San Juan County transfer station so that it is a safe and environmentally responsible facility to handle current and future solid waste needs.

B.) Build a new enclosed recycling and re-use facility at a more convenient location; the industrial zone in Friday Harbor or the County RGU zone.

(A Cover-all brand building or similar design is suitable and inexpensive per square foot.) (My personal experience is in Santa Barbara, California where the transfer station was 10 miles North of town. Recycling services were available at a convenient in-town location. The pattern of customer use was for people to drop off their recycling and re-use items while shopping in town. The trip to the transfer station was a special event usually requiring a pickup truck and old cloths. No one gave a second thought to a need for combined facilities.)

Financing capital costs:

* Charge a modest gate fee, ($2.00) at both the transfer station and the new recycling facility with the money collected dedicated to capital and depreciation costs. A gate fee was charged in years past with little public objection. A gate fee also tends to reduce the number of customer trips to the facilities. Fewer individual trips reduces the need to expand staff and reduces general overhead costs.

* Continue to offer “free” recycling with the cost of the recycling services included in the garbage tipping fee. This is a very real incentive to recycle.

* Charge a garbage tipping fee that is adequate to cover the operational expense of both the transfer station and the recycling center. *Do not institute a new general tax for solid waste. Most folks understand that the more garbage one generates the more it will cost the person for disposal services. That is fair. Folks will not understand a new tax that, in effect, subsidizes the larger garbage producers.

Expanded services:

Charge a reasonable fee for hazardous waste disposal services. Offer the service once a month. The fees charged should be enough to cover the cost of the program. Contract with local private companies on each island to accept and process yard waste for recycling or composting. There are businesses on each island that would be able to provide the service. They already have the expensive equipment and permits needed to provide the service. Charge enough for the garbage tipping fee to conduct a “reduce/re-use/recycle” education program.

Summary:

The solid waste and recycling programs in San Juan County has always been highly political. It was a major issue to close the old County dump on Orcas Island. The unlined dump sat on top of the Crow valley aquifer. It was controversial to send our garbage to an environmentally responsible and secure facility on the mainland. It was a bid deal when the County chose to co-mingle recyclables and ship them to the mainland even though it greatly reduced the cost of the program.

It should be the County’s goal to find the least expensive alternative to the collection and transporting of solid waste and recycling to the mainland where there are existing facilities equipped to handle solid waste and recyclables appropriately.

Consulting and Proposal fees:

The information that I have provided above is available for use by San Juan County for a modest consulting fee of $100,000. Considering the amount already spent on consultants, this seems like a bargain basement price. If, however, the fee will be difficult in these financial times, I will accept a cup of “courthouse coffee” as full payment next time I trek to Friday Harbor for a Council meeting.

Have a great day and... thank you for listening.
Respectfully,

John Evans
Doe Bay
John Evans was a County Commissioner for 12 year, and a 20+ year veteran of garbage issues
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Fixing Up The Current Transfer Station Is Not The Cheapest Option
To the Editor:

Minimally fixing up the current transfer station has been widely advocated, because at first glance it appears to be obviously the cheapest option. In fact, it would be wasting money. To see why requires delving a bit deeper. There is another option that is not only cheaper but also better.

Full facility. Currently, the only available cost estimates by a qualified engineer are for a full facility. They are based on professional experience, without detailed site investigations or rigorous cost analyses.

Qualified engineer’s cost estimates for full facility In millions of dollars
Category----------------------------Sutton Road site----Beaverton ValleyRoad site
Buildings, roads, and scales--------------2.0-3.0-------------------2.0-3.0
Excavation, fill, and site preparation----1.3-1.9-------------------0.6-0.8
Stormwater detention pond-----------------0.3-0.5-------------------None
Composting &/or C&DD pads-------------1.6-1.8-------------------1.6-1.8
Total cost of full facility-----------------------5.2-7.2------------------4.2-5.6
Total cost of basic facility-------------------3.6-5.4-------------------2.6-3.8
Numbers are from the Supplemental Alternatives Analysis prepared for the County
Pond already exists -C&DD stands for “construction and demolition debris”

Though these estimates take into account the far greater cost of excavation, fill, and site preparation on the steep, rocky, confined Sutton Road site, they disregard several other potentially costly problems at that site. These problems include (1) buying or leasing from the Town (whereas the County already owns the entire Beaverton Valley Road site), (2) keeping the existing facility open for business during construction, (3) leaving undisturbed the monitoring wells downhill from the old landfill, and (4) dealing with known and probable buried trash and other refuse outside the old landfill.

Basic facility. The composting and/or C&DD processing pads are for waste-stream reduction mandated by the County’s Solid-Waste Management Plan. Inasmuch as commercial firms on San Juan Island currently carry out part of this function, the County could for the present build a basic facility without the pads.

Opting for a basic facility would reduce the immediate cost by $1.6-1.8 million at both sites.

Minimalist (or bailing wire and duct tape) facility. Quite a few concerned citizens advocate muddling through as cheaply as possible with the current transfer station. Some, for example, mistakenly claim that “simply erecting a structure over the tipping site” would bring the facility into compliance with the law.

Doing anything whatever at the current facility will trigger having to comply with all applicable laws and regulations, not just the requirement for a roof over the tipping floor. At minimum, compliance requires (1) erecting fully closable buildings over both the trash and the recyclables tipping floors, including the semi-trailer receiving bins, (2) providing for collection of contaminated garbage drippings and cleanup water from the tipping floors and receiving bins, and (3) constructing a stormwater detention pond (which alone adds $0.3-0.5 million to the cost, whereas the necessary pond already exists at the Beaverton Valley Road site).

Doing the minimum required for compliance at the Sutton Road site could easily cost as much as building a basic facility at the Beaverton Valley Road site.

Semi-minimalist facility. Additional important needs at the current transfer station are (1) improving employee safety, (2) widening the tipping floors to match the receiving-bin length, and (3) providing pull-through rather than back-in bays for the receiving-bin semi-trailers. A semi-minimalist facility would considerably reduce the present excessive risk of injury to employees and damage to vehicles and buildings, at relatively little additional expense.

Self-hauling vs. “curbside” pickup. Some advocates of a minimalist facility acknowledge the gross insufficiency of the available space on the current site by calling for mandatory pickup or its equivalent.

A few years ago the County proposed mandatory pickup to reduce on-site traffic, but dropped the idea when a sizeable majority voted against it at a public hearing in 2006, even though it was claimed to be less expensive and more convenient than self-hauling.

“Curbside” pickup in fact is neither less expensive nor more convenient for most self-haulers; and for some it is practically impossible.

Not less expensive. San Juan Sanitation charges $27.04 per month, including taxes, to collect two 32-gallon cans biweekly. Self-hauling the contents of the cans biweekly costs $22.24 if they weigh 40 lbs each. Inasmuch as self-hauled cans rarely weigh this much, very few self-haulers pay what “curbside” pickup costs.

Not more convenient. Early on collection day (or the previous night) people living up the numerous lanes and driveways not serviced by San Juan Sanitation have to cart their trash to the often distant pickup point in animal-proof trash cans that commonly do not fit into their vehicles. After the pickup, they have to make a second trip to retrieve the cans. And then they have to self-haul their recyclables to the transfer station anyway, or else discard them with the trash.

Self-haulers, on the other hand, simply take their trash and recyclables to the transfer station in plastic bags, which easily fit into most vehicles, and continue on to other business.

It is for good reason that so many Islanders from all areas outside Town are so vehemently opposed to being forced into “curbside” pickup.

Source of funds for facility. According to the Supplemental Alternatives Analysis “a number of potential funding sources could help pay for all or a portion of a new transfer station on San Juan Island. At the Federal level, some of these sources include a variety of grant and loan programs offered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Some State funding sources include Ecology’s Coordinated Prevention Grant (CPG) and the State’s Public Works Trust Fund (PWTF).”

The taxes that fund these programs will be collected whether or not the County takes advantage of them.

Construction of a new full or basic facility would be eligible for these potential funding sources, whereas a minimalist or semi-minimalist fix-up almost certainly would not. Thus, whether the latter would in fact entail less burden on County taxpayers is open to serious question.

Below-standard entering sight distances at site entrances. The Traffic Analysis appended to the Draft Environmental Impact Statement points out that at the proposed entrances to both the Sutton Road and the Beaverton Valley Road sites the entering sight distances in the direction away from Town are only about 350 feet, whereas current roadway design standards require a minimum of 559 feet.

The Analysis incorrectly gives 698 feet as the required minimum at the Beaverton Valley Road site entrance (because it mistakenly used the wrong speed limit) and therefore concludes that mitigation “would probably be prohibitively expensive,” because of the amount of excavation needed. With the correct distance excavation is considerably reduced. Moreover, by using the existing entrance to the site instead of the proposed one, it can be further reduced dramatically, because then oncoming traffic would be in the lane farthest from the obstructing embankment, instead of nearest.

Correcting the almost identical (and generally ignored) inadequacy in entering sight distance at either the current turnoff or the proposed new entrance to the Sutton Road site would be considerably more expensive than at the entrance to the Beaverton Valley Road site. This is because Roche Harbor Road there not only bends around a bedrock hill in the direction away from Town (like the situation at the proposed Beaverton Valley Road site entrance), but also curves downward over it, thus requiring much more extensive excavation and roadway rebuilding.

Source of funds for off-site road work. The cost of this work, if any, almost certainly would come from the County roads budget. According to County documentation (2009 Prelim Revs, all Co Funds) about 57% of the non-carryover funds in this budget in 2009 will derive from Federal road grants and State motor vehicle fuel taxes, 38% from the property tax levy for roads, and the remaining 5% from a variety of minor sources.

County taxpayers will pay the same motor vehicle fuel taxes regardless of which option is chosen. Likewise, the property tax levy cannot be increased by more than 1% per year, nor can bonds be issued, without approval by the voters.

The most that can be said at this point is that the actual funds needed for off-site road work are virtually certain to be far less than the several million dollars some have proclaimed.

Importance of taking the long view. Most of the public discussion so far has assumed that minimizing short-term costs achieves lowest cost. But for long-term public projects like the transfer station “lowest cost” has to mean “lowest overall cost,” not “lowest short-term cost.” Otherwise, the present generation is simply saving money at the expense of the next.

With a minimalist or semi-minimalist facility very big future costs can almost certainly be anticipated. The absence of any expansion potential whatever at the Sutton Road site means that, as our population inevitably grows, a new facility will be needed far sooner than otherwise. The County and its citizens will then be forced once again to go through the whole costly process of site selection and facility construction, but with the additional and possibly insurmountable difficulty of lack of suitable sites. And costs will surely be even higher then than now.

It is imperative that in deciding what to do about the transfer station we think, not in terms of the next few years, but in terms of the next several decades.

The bottom line. Minimally fixing up the current transfer station is not the cheapest option. Building a basic facility at the Beaverton Valley Road site instead would entail lower short-term cost, lower long-term cost, less complexity, many fewer chances for costly surprises, and far less adverse impact on the great majority of San Juan Island residents.

Ronald L. Shreve
Hillview Terrace (near the Sutton Road site)
Research Professor of Oceanography
University of Washington and Emeritus Professor of Geology and Geophysics at UCLA. Hillview Terrace neighborhood (near the Sutton Road site)

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Reader Is Convinced
To the Editor:

After reading all the information on this issue, I say keep the transfer station where it is and save taxpayer money.

Liz Scranton
Lopez Island
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Thoughts On Curb-Side Pick-Up
To the Editor:

Up until several years ago, recycling was an intimate experience. We washed-out containers , removed labels, separated paper from plastic, removed the ends of cans, check for numbers molded into the bottom of plastic jugs. This preparation took time and we felt good about making the effort. When the County went to the current “Single Stream” recycling system (everything together), we were suspicious. It was too easy, and we felt somehow slothful. But upon examination this new process was found to do a remarkably good job at achieving the ends we desired.

Now a proposal has been made to implement “curb-side pick-up” This can be viewed as just another way to remove us from direct involvement in the issue/crisis of trash. It seems that the only thing we now personally can do to effect the trash equation - in a manner which can achieve a ”green” result, is to consume smaller amounts of the right things.

However, I believe that the new pick-up system is a factor that we should address from the environmental angle. I have this service. It is currently more expensive to have a can emptied on -Mitchell Bay road, than it is if I were to take it to the dump myself. (This does not factor in the cost of my time, my vehicle, my emissions, my impact on the roads etc,.). The transport of trash is the next stage in the evolution of the local garbage issue. If we are serious about minimizing our collective environmental impact, transportation of refuse materials is a component we need to address. This seems a propitious time to do so, as we are in the process of dump site selection.

The cumulative impacts of the current garbage collection system, and current site, are problematic. Modification of the current site both physically and in its operations could mitigate these problems. I believe that curb-side pick-up is the key element towards which physical changes at the current site should be geared If curb-side pick-up were the norm - with one truck handling ~200-300 residences per trip, the current site would be sufficient to handle the garbage and recycled materials we generate, well into the future. I think the current site modified to accept a curb-side pick-up system is the responsible, progressive way forward on this issue. This is a vote to retain the current site.

Pauli Gavora
San Juan Island
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Curbside Service Will Serve
To the Editor:

Let’s stop pretending that problems do not exist at the Sutton Road dump site. Let us also free ourselves from the idea that to solve those problems we need a massive multi-million dollar response from Public Works. The solution has been staring us in the face for many years.

Most municipalities and counties around the world (including Friday Harbor) have solved their solid waste problems this way. It is the most efficient, cost effective, and environmentally friendly solution ever devised in modern society. It can be designed to meet the needs of every household, on any schedule, and no one has to pack their trash around the island in the back of their cars again. It is simple as pie.

By using this system we could save hundreds of trips to the Sutton Road facility every day! Just think of the reduction in greenhouse gas and unnecessary waste of time and fossil fuel. Most of the problems like safety, congestion, high cost, impacts on neighbors, simply go away.

The solution is called “curbside service” and it could begin tomorrow. First we need to free ourselves from the delusion that self-haul needs to be preserved at any cost. We simply can’t afford to preserve this obsolete idea.

Gordy Petersen
San Juan Island
(I’m not a NIMBY! Not even close.)
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Open Letter To CC
To the Editor:

After reading Mr. Post’s SWAC presentation/recommendation to you I have decided to share my memories of the process which has lead to this point in your deliberations concerning the status of the transfer station on San Juan Island. I do not recall specific dates but I well remember the process.

I discovered the county’s intention of purchasing the Beaverton Valley site from people living near that site whom had uncovered the county’s intentions to purchase the property. They had met with Kevin Ranker and Jon Shannon who indicated that this was essentially a done deal and that the site would be used for a the public works department staging site and that the county intended to relocate the San Juan Island transfer station to this Beaverton Valley property.

I became alarmed at this point, because there was no transparency in the process. Subsequent research revealed that decisions were made away from public view and the Commissioners’ public discussions and votes were disguised in code. By doing that, the commissioners were able to vote on an issue without the public being aware of what was happening. At this time, the pre-Mr.Post SWAC, which was staffed with volunteers to assist and recommend in these decisions, was left totally out of the loop. The SWAC committee had not been consulted. They became aware of the purchase of the property and the intended use of the property after the neighborhood had been told.

The negotiations for the property, according to Kevin Ranker, were done by Mr. Shannon. The price negotiated far exceeded normal percentages over assessed values for similar properties sold during that time. We confronted the Commissioners for their lack of transparency at a subsequent regular meeting. Mr. Ranker assured us that all further proceedings would be transparent and that citizen input would be involved with all future proceedings. The Beaverton Valley property purchase had not yet closed. We then attempted to stop or postpone the closing until further public input.

I attended the subsequent SWAC meeting along with about 100 concerned citizens. Commissioner Lichter was in attendance. I publicly asked him specifically about his knowledge of the status of the closing process at this SWAC meeting. He responded, publicly, that he was uncomfortably left out of the loop with this matter and had no knowledge of the closing.

Directly after that meeting, I walked to the Commissioners’ office and was told that closing was in process at Geiser Escrow. I walked directly to the escrow office. Owner Elaine Brown told me that the closing happened that morning. Al Lichter signed the closing papers just prior to the SWAC meeting. You can imagine how I felt about that and about Mr. Lichter. I then met him at the ferry landing. Upon viewing my approach, Mr. Lichter rushed up to me expressing his amazement and disgust that the property had closed. It had become real clear that Mr. Rancor’s pledge to transparency was a diversion.

I was sick of the whole thing and stayed out of it for some time, disillusioned with the lack of honesty at the top of county politics; I also felt than any involvement was just an act of futility. It has been revealed in the process that the Commissioners were following the lead of the head of the public works. I have never been able to understand the motivations of Mr. Shannon and the county commission in this matter.

Hope arose when we decided to change the form of county government. Lichter and Ranker moved on. New attention was being paid to recommendations of the SWAC. I decided to attend some SWAC meetings. Mr. Post. of Orcas Island had become chairman of SWAC. It was clear to all in attendance, from the start, that Mr. Post controlled the meetings with an iron hand. He would not allow any consideration of costs, impacts or legality during the proceedings. I asked him, at the first meeting I attended, who set the agenda for the meetings. He paused, looked around and said “we do”. I discovered later that the SWAC meeting agendas were set by Mr. Post solely in consultation with the Public Works department. I was astonished to discover that the Public Works was still orchestrating the proceedings.

I met with Mr. Post following one meeting to share some thoughts as it was clear that a majority of the SWAC members were uneducated about San Juan Island services. He said that he wanted San Juan Island to have all of the possible services, many of which benefited Orcas Island. I explained that although his Trash To Treasures provided a wonderful service on Orcas Island we had more than met that need on San Juan Island with the fire department’s Thrift store, Frank Penwell’s center out Roche Harbor Road for recycled building materials and furniture/appliances (profits donated to charity), and Kevin Roth program on the west side. I expressed my opinion that it probably would be legally and ethically improper for the county to set itself up in competition with these enterprises. In addition, San Juan Islanders enjoy the weekend garage sales which far exceed in number those on Orcas Island. Mr. Post then asked me where The North 40 was, which further illustrated his, and the committees’ lack of understanding of the island they were about to affect with their recommendations.

The photo of Mr. Post’s presentation, as disturbing as it was to me, continues my inquiry as to why this has all happened. Why are we looking at spending a lot of taxpayers’ money to do something San Juan Islanders’ neither want nor need? How is it possible that for Public Works to continue to control this process? What is the motivation here? I found it disheartening that after Mr. Post’s presentation no one of the council members had any questions for him, and that all other members of the SWAC were silent.

I would like you to look at selling the Beaverton Valley Property, recoup as much as you can from the sale and then use some of that money to update the present site.

Joel Clark,
San Juan Island
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Time To Speak Up!
To the Editor:

My vote (and that of EVERY ONE THAT I HAVE SPOKEN WITH) is to keep the dump where it is, there is plenty of room so long as we improve it. Part of the future of is that everything will take less space as time progresses, we will be discarding less and more will be made with what we now discard.

The fact that "moving the dump" is not progressive thinking is not what distresses me. It is the agenda driven, fiefdom-building politics that occurs in this county on a regular basis that makes me wonder what you all are thinking about when you vote for your representatives. If the County Council approves the recommendation of the SWAC to move to Beaverton Valley we will have another in a growing line of decisions by the county that are in direct conflict with the will of the majority of the residents of the County.

Think back, and not too far. What was our opinion of the guest house ordinance? We overwhelmingly (73+%) disagreed and it was none the less passed by the Commissioners. What was our opinion of the storm water funding ordinance? We overwhelmingly disagreed (68+%) and it was none the less pushed through by the Council. What is our opinion of the dump move? We overwhelmingly disagree (the numbers are going to be huge). Nonetheless, the outcome seems to be pre-ordained. It is predestined that County and Public Works will get what it wants, from the secretive purchase of over-priced Beaverton Valley property that this dump is supposed to justify, to the purchase of the gravel pit and, most recently, that ridiculous payment of a million-dollars-too-much for the Orcas dock,

It would be easy to say that these people that we have elected and their employees are continually duped in real estate transactions and are actually not too bright, but that over-simplifies the situation. They think that they are actually way smarter than us. They are doing things that are "painful" but necessary in the long run and we are just too myopic to see the wisdom of their ways. What makes them think they know so much? In the case of the dump, in excess of six hundred thousand dollars worth of purchased "opinions" from the same consultants that always give Public Works the answers it wants.

Do whatever you can to make your voice heard by your representative on the Council. They need to know that blatant disregard for our opinions and our pocketbooks is not going to work this time.

Alexandra Gavora
San Juan Island

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Were Not All NIMBYs’
To the Editor:

It was an interesting presentation today at the County Council meeting with the recommendation presented by SWAC. I don't know how that committee is selected, but they seem to simply rotate the office of President and most have been on it for many years...maybe too many.

It's time for a fresh viewpoint and not the biased one that was given at their presentation today. Over $600,000 has been spent on studies...(where did the money come from?) and what were the results concerning runoff problems, noise, traffic, cost, bird situation and danger to aircraft, etc. We have not heard anything about that!

It was brought up at the last SWAC meeting at the firehouse that much of that land on Beaverton Valley Road is wetlands and was covered with water recently. Streams and ponds would be effected by runoff from the dump site there. The noise from the "drum grinder" has not been addressed either and was brushed aside when brought up at the SWAC meeting a few weeks ago. Important points in the opinion of many.

The SWAC impression presented is that the only ones objecting and writing in opposition to the Beaverton Valley site are NIMBY's. That is NOT true. I for one live on the west side, not near the proposed site. My biggest concern is the problem with birds in flight paths, and they seem to ignore completely the letter from the FAA regarding that and the recent plane accident in NY.

I heard after the meeting today that pilots are prepared to hire an attorney and fight the decision if the transfer station is moved to Beaverton Valley Road. Just think how much that court fight will cost the County, and it will be a very unpopular battle similar to the storm water issue recently.

The biggest problem, as I heard it today, was the cost of hauling our garbage off island. It occurred to me that the County owns the gravel pit!! Let's fill it up with garbage and yard waste!

We can go back to separating out plastic, glass, and cans as we used to do. No one would complain, in fact we wonder why "it is cheaper to combine it all" as we are doing now. Think of the money saved if it was not all trucked off island 300 miles away!

My drain field is made of crushed glass from Orcas Island instead of sand! Let's be creative and perhaps there is an income from sensible use of recycled materials. It would take years to fill the gravel pit, and then, the County could put a nice park on the top! Just an idea. It wouldn't hurt to bring it up and consider!

Helen Chapman King
San Juan Island
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Reader Wants To Vote “Keep It”
To the Editor:

At least I have a place to vote...

Johanna Smith
Friday Harbor, SJI
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We Need The Money!
To the Editor:

Council members, please act in a financially and ecologically responsible manner by REJECTING any change in location for the San Juan Island transfer/dump site.

For the amounts of money which have been spent in researching alternative sites, the present solid waste dump area could have been brought into compliance, thereby not incurring the resulting expense of fines. If the original overspending to purchase land off Beaverton Valley Road for Public Works use had not occurred, the County would not now be "in the red" for very near the same amount.

If the Beaverton Valley Road site is developed for a transfer/dump site, the environmental effects will be far-reaching and damaging to the ecology of this supposed pristine island far into the future.

This San Juan ISLAND resident is urging you NOT to put the whole of San Juan COUNTY's taxpayers in further debt in this tenuous state of the economy.

PLEASE BE RESPONSIVE TO THE MAJORITY OF COUNTY VOTERS AND RESIDENTS WHO WANT TO CURTAIL UNNECESSARY COUNTY SPENDING.

Please reject the further expenses of moving the San Juan Island transfer/dump.

Nancy St. Pierre
Friday Harbor
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Concerns On Dump
To the Editor:

I am aware that there is a very important council meeting on Monday the 26th regarding the possible relocation of the dump.

I own a home in the North Forty neighborhood that is facing the proposed dump site on Beaverton Valley. We (my husband and I) are strongly against a dump going in at this location for a number of reasons.

The first is the economic impact this will have on our County - we are in a very scary time with the economy and spending any money on this would be irresponsible. It is a tragedy that there has already been so much of our taxpayer money spent on studies that are not even finalized yet. In hindsight, it seems that the $600K+ that has been spent could have gone a long way in improving the Sutton Rd. site. As council members, you need to be fiscally accountable. These large decisions impact us for years and years to come.

The second reason we oppose this move is for the environmental disturbance potential. We have one site already that has been damaged by the dump, why contaminate another large parcel that sits right in the middle of our two beautiful valleys? We have a limited amount of area on our island and I would hate to see such a beautiful parcel consumed by a dump. Whatever happened to Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle? That is what we should do with the current dump site. Not throw it out like a disposable plastic bottle.

The third reason we oppose this move is more a personal one. We purchased our home right at the peak of the real estate bubble and would be financially devastated to have our property value cut in half and the resale potential obliterated. We are also concerned with potential water quality degradation if there were to be a new dump behind our house. We have a shared well here in the North Forty and have a real concern about conserving the quality of our water.

Please vote to keep the dump where it is - it is the right thing to do.

Debbie & Jeff Mason
North Forty Neighborhood
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A Need To Focus
To the Editor:

These are challenging times. Economically stretched and or nearly depleted here. It is worse in other places like my home town of Detroit,MI. The working classes are leaving here in small but obvious flows.

We need to focus on using what we already have and improving on what we have; rather than just move on. Home owners do it all the time… remodel. This is the way we are going in the country as a whole. The idea of moving the dump is founded by the same ones that brought us into non-compliance of the current site; by tearing down the tipping roof. The move is not supported most importantly by the constituents and is fiscally irresponsible.

I directly helped pull neighbors together and attended the first informal meeting with about 50 folks at Willie and Nancy Jo Cavanaghs with guest speakers John Shannon and Kevin Ranker in attendance several years ago. Their opinion Agenda was: “the new transfer station is coming. There is nothing you can do to stop it. Why not help us in the design and studies of creating it here on Lampard / Beaverton”. Jaws dropped. SO, we tried to be actively involved with the process by going to meetings held by SWAC early on. It was obvious however in a very short time where they were headed and seldom if ever allowed any public comment. The public in general has been largely muted over the entire process including the secretive deals between the parties to begin with. How long would it have been, if not for the www.theislandguardian.com informing us that this was even a consideration!

The town has shown in recent years that they are more than willing to work this out with the county. Why won’t the county come to the table? See above.

As cited as evidence in these letters to the editor are thoughts such as; Tacoma’s transfer station operates in a smaller site. Why cant we? How much more money will be wasted on the taxpayers dime to figure out WE DON’T NEED NOR WANT TO MOVE IT.

It is an absurd deal from the start... both economically and forward looking.

Most, if not all of the neighboring homes to the existing site were built after the present dump was operating.
My family very seriously considered buying a ‘specific’ house very near the dump in Hillview Terrace about 6 years ago... We thankfully thought enough about the proximity to the KNOWN dump site, to visit the house on a Saturday morning. We were planning to make an offer on the house the following week. You could not see the dump from the house, But the wind was blowing just right and the noise was obvious. Thanks to that visit, we drew a very easy conclusion within one hour during that visit. We went back into the market place until we found our purchase here on Lampard.

KEEP IT WHERE IT IS!

Thank you Jack for this forum!

Tom and Tami Doenges
San Juan Island
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Keep The Island Green
To the Editor:

My name is Rhonda Weaver, and when my old neighbors on San Juan Island told me that they were thinking of moving the local dump over to the old landing strip that was located at the end of my parents old property it really upset me. First off there it would cause much environmental damage and destroy the country setting of people who live off of Beaverton Valley Road.

Also there is a little stream bed that went through the bottom of my parents old property and I think with having this Transfer station near that area, it would destroy the frog habitat that its located in the Southeast corner of the property that is now owned by Cindy Gauthier. The frogs that live down in that bottom part of the pasture have been around since I was a child and you can hear the frog croaking every night during the spring and summer months.

I think it would be a bad thing for the county to move the dump that is located over off of Roche Harbor Road to a central location that would be located off of Beaverton Valley Road. Has anyone done an environmental study and what damage this might cause to those that live off of the ground water that they take in on the wells that are located in that area of the island. Right now the island has such a problem with drought every summer, why would you want to damage additional ground well water with moving the SJI Transfer Station to a new location.

Let's keep the island clean and keep it green.

Sincerely,

Rhonda Paulette Weaver
Vancouver Washington
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Addendum for Shelly Prichett’s First letter
To the Editor:

The most disappointing point of attending the SWAC meetings was how ill informed some members were. As the taxpayers are forced to sit silent and watch the proceedings the questions they asked between themselves were depressing at best.

They were asking questions that had the answers in their own report. The homeowners in the audience knew the answers to these questions because we have studied the 266 page report which was more than the SWAC members have done. Pretty irresponsible when they are the ones making a recommendation and they have not even studied their own findings. I even had one member ask me after where I found out some information and it was from THEIR reports! We wonder why we have no faith left in our leaders. We feel maybe they should not be the leaders after they have failed so miserably.

Maybe the transfer station issue should be put up to the voters of Friday Harbor citizens, the people directly affected by the results with informed citizens and not some people who don't care from Orcas Island.

Everyone I have spoken with feel it should be kept at Sutton Rd. But George Post seems hell bent on creating something new razzle-dazzle and doesn't care about the impact on anyone, the law, or how much it will cost after all the dust settles. He even said so much at the meetings as we all sit there in shock at his words! Amazing the ignorance.

Shelly Prichett
San Juan Island
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A True No-Brainer
To the Editor:

Please don't move the transfer station. It is costly and not necessary. What are they using for brains?

Louise Lane
Friday Harbor, WA 98250
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Look At The Trees
To the Editor:

More discussion is needed!

All the trees on the dump hillside are dead! Was any of the $600,000 that was spent used to look into why that happened on the hillside and what is necessary to prevent it from happening in the next location?

Wes Edholm
Phuket, Thailand
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Can’t Admit Their Mistake
To the Editor:

Oh, the good old days.
Remember when you went to the dump with a load of garbage and recyclables and without having to go through a checkpoint you hooked a hard left up to the plateau where all the recycle containers were. Then after doing your recycling you drifted over to the scale, got weighed, and dumped. It was uncomplicated and straightforward.

But not anymore.

It was working…now it isn’t. So what happened? Does anyone have an uncomplicated and straightforward answer?

Please, enlighten me. Because right now it looks like the County screwed up when they bought the Beaverton Valley Property and they can’t admit their mistake.

And to paraphrase Yogi Berra: “they made a wrong mistake.”

Yogi Berra also said,” when you come to a fork in the road…you take it.”

That’s a good slogan for San Juan County.

Holy cow…this self-styled new dump hasn’t even been built yet and already it stinks.

"What, Me Worry?" Alfred E. Neuman

Scott Bell (the loud one)
Friday Harbor
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Leave It!
To the Editor:

Fix it up to required standards and leave it where it is!

Jim Cox
San Juan Island
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Safety IS An Issue
To the Editor:

We do not want the dump on Beaverton Valley. It is a public safety hazard due to air traffic! Keep it where it is!

Deborah Neff
San Juan Island
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Seven Points
Dear Island Guardian,

In response to your interest in a vote, or comments, regarding the SWAC Board’s recommendation to move the dumpsite. I vote to leave the dump at the Sutton Road site and to update it.

I vote this way based on seven main reasons:

1.) The costs to our community in taxpayers’ dollars is too high. I would not be surprised to see the costs go well over 10 million, which is absurd for a community of our size.
2.) The fairness factor to those who bought property next to the new dumpsite. If the County chooses this site, it should financially reimburse those in the neighborhood who will have their property values decreased. It would be a "taking" from all these property owners. How would you feel if a dump were suddenly going to be established next door to you without compensation for reducing your property value?
3.) The costs to local businesses that will have to lay off workers or go out of business due to County planned activities discussed for the Beaverton Valley site. This also translates to lost tax revenue for the County.
4.) This will eventually lead to a duplication of services, as the Town of Friday Harbor cannot use the Sutton Road site for anything else. This violates one of the written directives to the SWAC Board in the EIS and Comprehensive Plan.
5.) It is not environmentally correct to have such a small island and pollute two locations for dumpsites. The current Sutton Road site is already forever polluted. Why endanger the Beaverton Valley area?
6.) All of the activities planned on the Beaverton Valley site could be done at the Sutton Road site with the County property located next to it, and for far less money.
7.) This choice of a site is a break of SWAC’s promise to this community. On June 19th, 2006 SWAC members told San Juan Citizens attending their meeting that the high characteristics and preferred outcome would include being: responsive to community needs, financially secure, cost effective, and have minimal impact to community.

Anyone attending the SWAC meeting since George Post took over, knows the SWAC Board was commanded numerous times not to consider costs or other factors that it promised our community it was considering.

Let’s see, you promise a dump that is cost effective and financially secure. Then you find out that those factors will eliminate your planned site, so you direct the SWAC Board that they can’t consider facts that get in the way of the "planned agenda".

To me, it appears George Post and certain members of our County government simply want a Taj Mahal and the notoriety that comes with it. This was a quote at one of the SWAC meetings, and we simply do not need a Cadillac.

The County Council should make it clear to the voters what the advantages, disadvantages and costs are to for the Beaverton Valley dump site vs. the Sutton Road dump site. Then the citizens should be able to vote on this issue, because the citizens are the ones who will have to pay for it, and because the SWAC Board did not fully disclose or address costs and other issues brought to their attention.

Sincerely,
Frank M Penwell
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The Buck Stops Here
To the Editor:

Re: The Latest Cost Overruns. Governmental dithering over the SJI Transfer Station sustains my enduring skepticism of any level of public leadership to accomplish anything, save perhaps salary increases and declaration of commemorative days. But then, we're to blame!

Many thanks
Carl Burger,
Olga
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Beaverton Site Is For The Birds
To the Editor:

Today’s US Airways plane crash in the Hudson River demonstrates a frightening potential of relocating our transfer station under the flight path for our airport. With this knowledge it seems that our county would assume liability for a similar tragedy if it were to occur above the proposed Beaverton Valley site.

As a county taxpayer I encourage the County Council to make the responsible decision to remove the Beaverton Valley site from consideration for relocating a new transfer station.

Why don’t we sell that site and use the proceeds to improve the site we have?

Joel Clark
San Juan Island
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It Could Happen Here Too
To the Editor:

When I read this breaking news below, my first thought was...they crashed in water, but a plane landing at our airport would be crashing into houses in Friday Harbor.

I had just finished reading the Island Guardian article about the FAA concerns regarding birds with the two sites other than our current recycle center. Both are dangerous for this reason, yet the SWAC continues to recommend them?! Does the County Council want this type of accident on their conscience?!
Helen Chapman King

AP/WNBC-TV: A US Airways jet crashed Thursday in the Hudson River in New York City after birds struck two of its engines…

Helen King
San Juan Island
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Keep It
To the Editor:

From the first, I have maintained that our small island needs only one dump site, at the present location.

Whether that location needs to be upgraded to conform to health and safety standards or not, the present location is much more affordable, both financially and ecologically.

In the present economic downturn, the people of this county cannot afford to waste any more funds than have already been expended in researching this issue. Keep the waste where it belongs -- at the current dump site!

Nancy St. Pierre
San Juan Island
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Three Major Concerns
To the Editor:

The neighborhood residents at Daniel Lane and aviators of Friday Harbor have a growing concern that the county has not taken this proposed site for the transfer station off the list of possible new sites. We have 3 major concerns.

FAA

The first and foremost is the proximity to the airport. Friday Harbor already has a bird hazard due to the geese at the golf course in the flight path and if Daniel Lane or Beaverton Valley is chosen it will add an additional unnecessary and dangerous bird hazard to all aviators. In the most recent advisory Circular from the FAA it states "airports that have received Federal grant-in-aid assistance MUST use these standards." On Nov. 13th 1974 the FAA announced new regulations to reduce bird hazard to aviators.

Transfer stations need to be 5,000 ft. of an airport used by piston engine aircraft and 10,000 ft used by turbo jets. Daniel Lane is less than 2,000 ft and Beaverton Valley is in the direct base leg of the approach for planes coming in and is clearly within the 10,000 ft. Radius. Paine Field has completed a similar project with a transfer station with extreme control and oversight with the FAA. To stay in FAA compliance they had millions in cost overruns. The bill to Snohomish tax payers was almost double from their initial estimate, now at 23 million and rising.

The one intelligent decision Snohomish County did was they didn't build it in a residential neighborhood and have avoided lawsuits due to devalued home values. Recently they were forced to shut down and make more improvements to stay in compliance with FAA regulations. Keeping the facility at Sutton Rd. Would not require strict oversite and special rules for the facility from the FAA. The aviators of Friday Harbor, Kenmore Air, Island Air, Port, Managers of the airport, and San Juan Pilot Assn. Do NOT support the transfer station to be at Daniel Lane or Beaverton Valley and will fight to keep our family's safe flying in and out of Friday Harbor.

Noise

According to the SWAC report Daniel Lane residents would be most affected by noise. At one SWAC meeting a member of the team stated that the noise level would not be an important factor at Daniel Lane because they already have the noise of some planes flying by, and in the SWAC report it states that at Daniel Lane it would SUBSTANCIALLY exceed WAC legal limits.

Time and time again SWAC members have totally disregarded the law. That alone should have removed Daniel Lane from a possible choice. Sutton Rd. had no noise impact.

Loss of property value

The homeowners that bought homes around the existing transfer station at Sutton Rd. new what they were buying into and their purchase price reflected that.

The homeowners at Daniel Lane and Beaverton Valley have paid premium prices for their homes and out of fairness alone should not have to lose 1/2 to all their value in their homes if the county should choose to devastate either one of these neighborhoods.

At one of the SWAC meetings the question was asked if the current transfer station could get back in compliance and the answer was YES! The fact that they can and could have been all this time has not put much faith with the homeowners that the right thing would be done if the transfer station moved to their backyard.
The county has not factored in the cost of lawsuits from residents and pilots if Daniel Lane or Beaverton Valley is chosen. If the entire Island will benefit from a new location then the entire Island can reimburse the homeowners that will lose hundreds of thousands of dollar of real estate value. The lawsuit will clearly be in the millions. You can't benefit everyone else and slaughter the few, everyone will need to pay.

The only sane decision is to keep the transfer station where it is and spend what is needed to improve the facility and force them get into compliance. Any other site would be extremely reckless and irresponsible and the tax payers of San Juan County deserve the right decision to be made.

Sincerely,

Shelly Prichett
San Juan Island

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Why do we need another Dump???

To the Editor:

If you go to other countries they fix or rebuild every thing. Only in America do we walk away from something and begin building another mess somewhere else. We should keep the dump where it is and rebuild what needs rebuilding.

Where I came from a fellow burned old tires and the heat turned a turban and it made electricity. The environmentalists said it could not be done. They ringed the area for miles around with instruments to show pollution & particulates to shut it down but there were none.

It just took enough oxygen to bring about complete combustion. Perhaps it could be done with refuse but keep the present dump

Gene & Lorene Wilkinson,
Friday Harbor
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Keep it on Sutton
To the Editor:

Yes, I want the dump to stay where it is. I have been following the transfer station situation since the purchase of the Beaverton Valley Rd. property by the County some four years ago. It’s tough in our present economic environment to imagine the price that was paid for the property, and now how much it will cost to move the entire facility, to say nothing for the $$$ spent on studies and consultants.

The Transfer site on Sutton Road could be improved to meet the State’s requirements as well as to the satisfaction of the Sutton neighborhood.

From my perspective, and I do have to go to the “dump” for both my business and home, and I see extreme poor management. The poor management stems from what is dumped as there is no control nor guidelines.
Many people could benefit from an outline to take home and post as to what is garbage and what is recycle.
Contractors and landscape people come in and dump all kinds of leaves, trees, building materials, etc.
It would seem there could be a site where some of the ground stuff (leaves, bushes, trees) could be burned!

I live on Lampard Road, and our neighborhood will be impacted by the noise if the Transfer Station should move, but I believe I would still be writing this letter if I lived at Roche or Eagle Cove. The Transfer Station needs to stay on Sutton Road. It will save taxpayers millions!!!

Keep it on Sutton
Yvonne Swanberg
San Juan Island

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Sell Beaverton Valley Property
To the Editor:

The grandiose aspirations of Pw must be stopped! plus, on a rational scale, it only makes sense to improve it where it is, not create a state-of-the-art facility that we don't need.

Sell the Beaverton Valley road property and keep some of the county employees and services instead.

Fay Chaffee
Friday Harbor

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Reader Says “KEEP IT”
To the Editor:

We live in a wasteful society where everything is disposable; apparently even the solid waste facility.

When things get old or are in need of expensive repair, we often opt to find something newer, bigger and better.

How about repairing and improving what we already have and stop wasting tax payer's money on studies that end up costing us more than the potential cost of the repair? KEEP IT!

Leslie Brennan
Friday Harbor, WA
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Recycling
To the Editor:

The better effort would be to make a community effort to reduce waste from homes, businesses, building sites. Wouldn't this save us money? NPR offered an item on reuse of plastics this morning: Turns out Americans throw away two million plastic bottles every hour!

What's worse, the recycling plants that would re-manufacture these items are all overseas, and they no longer want no longer want American recycled materials, according to the article below, because we aren't buying the products they manufacture to export to us. If recycling is no longer profitable, those bottles are using up petroleum and going into landfills. Even those called biodegradable need sunlight and oxygen to degrade, and landfills are more like tightly sealed storage containers than compost piles, so they won't actually go away.

Reducing the waste stream doesn't take a huge effort. I compost whatever I can from the kitchen and garden, I buy almost no packaged items and cook "from scratch", I buy milk in returnable glass, and as a consequence I have half of a grocery bag of "garbage" every two months (mostly facial tissue, plastic meat wrappers from local meat, the occasional sock with two many holes, an empty scotch tape roll) and a box of mostly paper from the mail to recycle. If we want beer, wine, hard cider, we should be able to take our jugs or growlers to the winery, the brewery, the cidery and get them refilled. We should be able to grow or obtain a lot of our food from right here in the county instead of all the cartons and packages that arrive by truck.

For all I know, maybe it would even be possible to start an enterprise that attempts to create a building block of ground up and compressed materials.

Eleanor Hartmann
San Juan Island

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$.75 K For What?
To the Editor:

The proposal to move the transfer station was flawed from the beginning. The roof over the tipping floor was declared to be deficient for some reason. And although it was only about 10 or 12 years old, Public Works announced it had to come down. I have been a builder since working with my father as a teen and I have never seen a code-built building that only lasted 10 years. Surely that building could have been repaired or improved upon. This used to be a county that worked but for several years now it has been a dismal example of how to waste money. If Gordy Petersen’s numbers are correct than we have now spent more than $750,000 just to study this issue.

That brings me to another point I want to make. Why do these council members, all supposedly smart educated people, need to hire a consulting firm every time they turn around. This is our hard earned tax money leaving the county each time they do this. This latest contract is for $140,000+ for a EIS, environmental impact study, on the new location before they have even chosen it. How do they do that? Is there so much money in the county coffers that they can just throw it around?

Aren't there dozens of qualified people living here in the county that could prepare this study. The short answer is of course there is. Maybe even some retired person or persons that could use the extra income and still save the citizens of this county some money.

But the bottom line is that this transfer station is perfect where it is. Think about it. It can't be seen from anywhere. It is close to the source of the majority of the garbage on the island. It is on the site of an old garbage landfill. Most of the people that purchased near it knew it was there when they bought in. It is a huge capital investment that would be lost if the Commissioners decided to move it. It is where it is. I will predict that this will be decided in an Initiative before this is over. Let common sense prevail for once. Leave it where it is.

Joseph Foggia
San Juan Island
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Why move it?
To the Editor:

Why move it? Where it is has worked for how long? I would think fixing what's wrong with the one we have, is less costly then building a new site. Our taxes are already high, so why add to the tax load on the taxpayers.
Kristine Bennett
San Juan Island
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Makes $ Sense To Keep It
To the Editor:

Keeping the garbage/refuse dump where it is will be more cost effective than moving it to Beaverton Valley Road or other locations. The dump's current location does not in any way interfere with or impede air operations around Friday Harbor Airport as it would if it were moved to Beaverton Valley Road.

Teresa DeGraaff
San Juan
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Once Was Enough
To the Editor:

Leave the dump where it is! The present facility could have been rejuvenated to comply with State Standards with the money the SWAC has already spent in a witch hunt which had a preordained outcome before they even started.

The impact of surrounding property has been known or years, so why go out to Beaverton Valley and do it all over again. Furthermore, moving the County's Operation does not assure that the current operation will cease to exist. The City may well decide to continue using it. The land is pretty worthless now for any other use anyway.

Judy Cox
Friday Harbor
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Too Close To Airport
To the Editor:

I am a general aviation pilot and am concerned with the proposed new location of the San Juan County Solid Waste Facility.

It is common knowledge that the current dump facility attracts crows, ravens and other scavenging birds. The new proposed location is directly beneath the designated approach traffic pattern to the Friday Harbor Airport! Pilots are already aware of increased bird activity due to the airport's proximity to Griffin Bay. Increasing the density of bird activity in the approach zone for the airport will present extreme hazards to aviation.

I urge you [the SWAC] to reconsider the current proposed relocation of the San Juan County Solid Waste Facility to an area further from the airport.

Cheryl Herndon
San Juan Island
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Should Have Fixed It By Now
To the Editor:

I think the most cost effective way to address the transfer station is to keep it where it is and renovate the site. This could have been done a couple of years ago with the funds already spent on determining where it should be located. What a waste of tax payer funds!

Krista Mattox
Friday Harbor
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Fix The Problem
To the Editor:

Please keep the dump where it is. Just bring it up to compliance and it would be the best choice. Please give voters a chance to make the choice, it is too much power to give that advisory committee.

Thank you,
Diane Jangard
San Juan island
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Why Mess Up?
To the Editor:

Keep it where it is! Why wreck new land? We can forever refer to Beaverton and "Shannon's folly!" It might make room for another, totally unneeded, affordable housing neighborhood. ( Has anyone ever heard of renting at home? Used to be very practical, respected, and accepted in America.)

Pat O’Day
San Juan Island

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Excuse Mr. Shannon!
To the Editor:

Fire that IDIOT John Shannon, and then take the money that will be saved from any more moronic moves that he would make and then upgrade, rebuild and leave the dump where it is.

Randy Shaffer
Hillview Terrace
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Seems We Agree On This One: We Need To Vote On It!
To the Editor:

It appears the majority of San Juan Islanders feel strongly that the Transfer Station should stay put and I agree for the following reasons:

1. Very strong (and expensive to oppose in court) opposition to creating a second facility one one island.

2. The county already owns the 6 plus acres of property adjacent to the existing 26 plus acres of town property the dump sits on now, thus giving a massive 32 contiguous acres of area that is just across the county road from more than 120 acres of even more county property as a buffer.

3. Most, if not all of the neighboring homes to the existing site were built after the present dump was operating.

4. I strongly believe that the existing site can be improved to be a clean safe and efficient facility that will serve our needs for many years to come.

5. We don't need two transfer stations owned by two government entities on one small island. The town and the county should consolidate resources,co-operate and conserve land.

6. The money spent on litigation against moving the dump could be better spent on the existing site because my bet is the opposition is stronger against moving than the opposition is for leaving it where it is.

As a long time islander and business owner I have had the experience "biting off more than I could chew" a time or two and have had to fall back and regroup. I don't see any reason why our county can't do the same. I think it would be wise for the county to fall into line with the current economy and look for ways to be thrifty .....oh what a small business could do with the bucks public work has spent in the last five years!

If the dump relocation is really meant to be. it will withstand the vote of the people. Why not have a vote.

Thanks,
Mike Carlson, Friday Harbor
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Others Do It, So Can We
To the Editor:

Keep it where it is! Tacoma, which has a higher population than San Juan County, can conduct solid waste activities on a site smaller than the existing dump. Why can't SJC?

Francine Shaw
Hillview Terrace
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Thank You Council!
To the Editor:

My feelings are like all the rest of the people that have spoken. Let's go one step further and fire anyone, including Jon Shannon, that had anything to do with the purchasing the property in the "backdoor" manner in which the people of San Juan County are now bogged down with.

I feel any Commissioner that votes for the new relocation of the dump is irresponsible and has no regard for any of the citizens of this community!

I would also entertain the action of a recall vote of any commissioner that exhibits such poor judgment. Sorry to say, but the government of San Juan County is run on the "Good Ole Boy's" theory and should now be held accountable for their actions!

Daryl R. Boulton
San Juan County
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Thank You!
To the Editor:

I am in favor of keeping the dump where it already is..........too much taxpayer money has been spent already. We haul our own trash/recycling.

Thank you for keeping us informed with these important issues!

Sincerely,
Donna Tegnell
Friday Harbor
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We Live Next To It
To the Editor:

We live next to the dump and have no problem with it there!

Ron and Lisa Howard
San Juan Island
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Fix The Damn Roof!
To the Editor:

I am awed and amazed that this issue of the "Dump" is still going on. The citizens that live on San Juan Island have had ample opportunity to elect leaders that can solve this issue once and for all. If your council representative does not act to represent the wishes of their constituents then don't vote for them.

It has been obvious since 2004 that the then BOCC had a mission and objective along with Public Works to move the Transfer Station to the Beaverton Valley site.

Piet Visser exposed this agenda a long time ago and yet it is still moving forward. This is a classic example of our Politicians ignoring the wishes of the people. They did it with the Guest House Issue, they did it with the Storm Water Tax, just to mention a few, and now they are doing it with the Transfer Station.

The initial allowed public input showed an overwhelming amount of people did not want it moved.

This public meeting was held at the Senior Center and moderated by Kevin Ranker. What happened after the vote?? Nothing changed. Full speed ahead. Now hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars have been spent pursuing this private agenda.

Keeping the Transfer Station at the existing site and replacing the roof over the tipping floor is an absolute no brainier. Not fixing it in the first place was a way of placing the station in non-compliance with the State DOE so the "Agenda" could be accomplished.

Fix the roof, stop the insanity, and force the elected officials and those that work for public works to listen to the people

Ray Bigler
(somewhere in Mexico)

PS. In Mexico we expect the politicians and government officials to be corrupt, and it now seems that we should expect the same from our politicians and officials in the US. Don't believe me? Look at Illinois, Louisiana and San Juan Island. Just to name a few.
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Too Big, Too Much, Too Expensive
To the Editor:

I vote to keep the DUMP where it is, and must make the necessary improvements. There appears to be a conflict of interest regarding the new/proposed site, and more than enough money has already been spent on this issue.

I hope San Juan Country does not continue to become another KING COUNTY! Our County government already reminds me too much of the City of Seattle, for whom I worked up to my retirement.

Dan Watson
San Juan Island
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Vote On It!
To the Editor:

Keep at present site....please use some good common sense and do not obligate the citizens to unnecessary spending ! ! !

This subject needs to be on a ballot and voted on by the people.

Jenny Ledford
San Juan Island
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Pay Attention
To the Editor:

It is preposterous and actually delusional to even consider moving the dump
at this time. Wake up, people.

Ellen Geiger
San Juan Island
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$600K For Kids -Not A Study
To the Editor:

Keep it where it is!

Why have we spent 600K + on studies when all the old dump needs is a new roof over the tipping floor. Our school district has a $717,000.00 deficit.

I would have rather used the consultant money for our kids.

Paul Le Baron
San Juan Island
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Sell The Proposed Property
To the Editor:

Keep it! Improve the current site!

The only additional thing I have to offer is that the property purchased by the County Council for over $1,000,000 without a vote by County residents should now be sold to offset costs of improving the current dump site.

Helen Chapman King
San Juan Island
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Move It!
To the Editor:

Look beyond the near term and consider requirements in decades. The current location cannot handle the required expansion.

Dave & Dot Vandaveer
Hillview Terrace
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Cost Not Important?
To the Editor:

I am struck by the absurdity of this situation. This advisory committee has spent well in excess of half a million of our dollars and sees no need to consider cost as a relevant factor in the siting recommendation. By an amazing stroke of coincidence, the committee ends up recommending a site which the County purchased 3 years ago in what folks knew then (and was documented in the press) was a backdoor way of making the solid waste site move a fait accompli, a fact admitted to by the eminent Kevin Ranker, former arrogant council person, at the time. In fact, there would likely not even have been an advisory committee had this little plot not been exposed at the time.

So we have the demonstrated arrogance of some of the ferry advisory committee members, the demonstrated incompetence of the lodging tax advisory committee (which spent 4 months running a “competition” for funding grants, only to ignore the entire process in the end and simply repeat the previous year’s grants, including ones to organizations with representatives on the committee, then sending out a letter to the “losing” proposers claiming that they had in fact run a fair competition), and the sheer irrationality (not to say duplicity) of this solid waste advisory committee recommendation.

It’s time for some adult supervision, which the County Council seems unwilling or unable to provide. Like any bureaucratic entity left to its own devices, these advisory committees quickly lose sight of their purpose and the people they are supposed to represent, and were it not for the oversight of the media on this island, the mischief produced by them would be both widespread and unknown. So congratulations to you and your colleagues for shining the light on their activities, and keep up the good work. Maybe a regular feature exposing irrational behavior in general would be useful. It would seem that the potential material would be abundant indeed.

John Littlewood
San Juan Island
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Unbearable
To the Editor:

It is almost unbearable to watch my tax dollars trickling into the hands of paid consultants whose opinions and insights will be ignored unless they agree with moving from the current location of the transfer station.

Stop wasting my money. Keep it where it is!

Glen Larsen
San Juan Island
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A Point To Be Made
To the Editor:

I would like to point out that the process for approving the dump facility is fatally flawed.

While the committee has focused on moving the dump, they have not focused at all on how to keep the dump in its current location. Nor have they focused on how to pay for this outrageously expensive relocation which may have significant unintended consequences.

For example: Friday Harbor Airport is partially supported by significant grants from the FAA. These grants have stipulations attached providing for development that go far into the future. Should the relocation of the dump violate any FAA regulations regarding the airport, the FAA can and will require that the community repay all of the funds that the airport has received going back as far as 10 years or more. While I cannot state for certain that the location selected for the dump will violate FAA regulations, I suspect that the committee cannot say for certain that it won’t.

And then there is the money. The county has a long track record of going over budget on its projects. In a time of economic hardship, do we really want to spend $10 million where a significantly lesser amount would bring the existing site to conformity?

And where is this money to come from? The committee? This needs to be put to a vote of the taxpayers who in all lightly hood will have to come up with a lot more money than this misinformed committee believes.

Alan M. Davis
San Juan Island
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The Safe Bet: Retain It
To the Editor:

As a frequent bike rider along Beaverton Valley Road, and a frequent air passenger in and out of Friday Harbor Airport, I strongly oppose the proposed new dump site.

John Finger
San Juan Island
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A Bad Taste
Dear Island Guardian;

Thank you very much for giving the citizens of our county the chance to voice their opinion on the future dump location. The selection process so far has not allowed proper citizen input because of actions taken prior to citizen input, and the public comment period ended (just days!) before any cost information was released.

The whole process leaves a bad taste in my mouth for two reasons: The Beaverton Valley site was initially purchased for a dump with no citizen input; and the action of tearing down the existing shelter (thus immediately taking the dump out of legal compliance) instead of repairing it. My impression is that public opinion is overwhelmingly in favor of keeping the dump where it is.

David Waldron
San Juan Island
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Stop The Waste
To the Editor:

I am for keeping the transfer station at it's current location. I feel moving the transfer station and the amount of effort and money that has already been put into the process is a HUGE and IMMORAL waste of (my!) taxpayers dollars.
How can such a major process occur without a county or island wide vote. This is MY money that is being wasted. It is clear to me that with schools in such red tape, with our roads being unsafe and with our parks closing, our money could be spent elsewhere.

Thank you for posting this.

Stephanie Keys Hubber
San Juan Island
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Reader Lives Next To Dump -No Problem
To the Editor:

I say keep it. We just moved from 17 Waypoint, (down the end of Point Caution), where we lived for a year, and lived at 242 Evans Way for 4 years before that. So, I have been making dump runs for the last five years, dealt with the changes, the lines, and anything else one might consider problematic at the dump. I has worked fine for my family, and my children had to walk past it every day to attend school.

We just moved into town (263 Dougherty) and I will still make dump runs when I need to (still cheaper than what the town charges!)

Don't fix what is not broken. The only thing we have lost from the dump in the last 10 years is a covered area over the platform where we toss our garbage. This is not a problem.

thank you for your time and consideration.

Michael J. Perren
San Juan Island
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Jon Shannon Is The Force For New Dump
To the Editor:

Who mentioned improving the transfer station as a goal?
Who proposed the new site to the BOCC in executive session?
Who ordered the demolition of the tipping floor cover putting the existing site out of compliance?
Who handled the purchase of the Beaverton Valley site?
Who engaged the consultants for the studies and site comparisons, and outlined their scope of work?
Who wrote the scope of work, selected the consultant and approved the final version of the EIR?

Hint, the answer all the questions is the same.

One man with a plan, and he won't take no for an answer. Only the Council can stop this now.

Piet Visser
(Some where in Europe)
---------------------------------------
Why Impact New Land?
To the Editor:

I would for sure keep the dump where it is! no need to ruin more land on San Juan island... i shutter to think how much has been spent on looking at options rather than update what we have.

Traci Walter
San Juan Island
---------------------------------------
Expense IS Important
To the Editor:

It is true that when individuals are spending the public’s money, they have largess, and they think BIG. However thinking BIG most often results in higher taxes for the public, when there is not a reserve earmarked for the project. I have attended many of the SWAC meetings. The committee is comprised of well-intentioned people wanting to solve issues regarding the existing dump. They have spent a lot of time on this, and I do applaud their efforts.

However, two things jump out. The leaning of many on the committee has been see in the future a “Legacy” dump. When asked about how much it would be costing the County of San Juan to build such a facility, George Post stated words to the effect,” It does not matter how much it costs; it will cost what it costs. He also stated that this committee expected to recommend a site, not to see what it might cost. That, according to Mr. Post, would be up to the County Council.

I can only imagine how businesses would regard an employee, who spent $500,000 of his funds to get to the “vision” without any recommendations as to how to complete the project. What family does not consider overall costs to even decide how to pay for a minor expense as a new fence, or a new water heater?

In addition, as been mentioned earlier, the site of the new dump has apparently been decided prior to last year’s charade of looking at other sites. We were supposed to receive an expense report, earlier last summer, to be more informed as the project went along. Therefore, even with all the meetings, there has not been a lot of transparency and background information as to the real decisions regarding WHAT SITE they had decided upon, and AT WHAT COST. So, the public’s input was frustrated by this.

We should have spent the same monies to repair what we had. It is ironic that we are not considering RECYCLING the dump. Let us keep it where it is.

Sincerely,

Joan von Weien
Friday Harbor
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A Question Of Fairness
To the Editor:

I think it is unfair to move the dump to a new location. People have bought and built homes factoring in that the dump is located on Sutton Road.

To change all that without a very good reason seems unfair.

Jill Meyer
San Juan Island

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$8Mil To Build New
To the Editor:

The cost to update the present dump would be only a very small fraction of the Eight (8) plus million dollars San Juan County would be forcing the taxpayers to pay to re-locate. Just doesn't make any money sense at all.

Kay Erickson
San Juan Island

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Cannot Afford A New Dump
To the Editor:

Keep the dump where it is. We do not need two dumps less than a mile apart. The estimate for a whole new facility would be 8 Million Dollars more according to Kathy Robertson, one of the consultants we heard.

After the whole county already paid $65,000 per acre for bare land to put a new dump on was irresponsible by the county council and Jon Shannon.

The town will continue to operate the present dump according to King Fitch of the town.

Every person in the county will be paying for this and the other islanders need to speak up now about this unreasonable expenditure.

The council needs to take responsibility for the old dump, fix it up and use it. It is approximately the same size, has water (4"main) electricity and facilities. The Beaverton Valley site has no potable water, only the lake where they will build this dump if they get their way. They will have to drill a well and the history in this area is spotty at best.

Drainage from this new area will go directly into Beaverton Valley. Do you really want the pollution? There have been
consistent water testing done on both Beaverton Valley water and San Juan Valley water by Jennie Roberts, and it has been proven that any pollution would affect these water resources.

There is only one way to get a clear consensus of the public wishes. VOTE on it.

Put it on the ballot, let the people's voices be heard!!! please

Cathy and Bob Eggenberger
San Juan Island
---------------------------------------
$, Noise, Fairness
To the Editor:

We definitely want to keep the dump at its present location with upgrades!

The widening and paving of No 2 Schoolhouse would be a huge expense and would create a lot more traffic. There would also be a great increase in traffic and garbage along the road on scenic Beaverton Valley if it was moved there. The noise generated at the transfer station would also be a problem for us. We are also concerned about rodents.

With all the money they have spent on studies etc. they could have already improved the present site.

The people who live near the transfer station knew it was there when they bought their properties. We don't want it to be imposed on us against out will.

Thank you so much for doing the vote!

Pat & Brad Gislason,
San Juan Island
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I Will Debate Anyone
To the Editor:

Keep the dump where it is and improve it. A dispassionate study of law, logic, justice, and public opinion supports this position.

I live adjacent to the Beaverton Valley site, but would be happy to debate the issues with any proponent of the wasteful notion of moving the dump from its present site.

Mike Macdonald
San Juan Island
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One Dump Is Enough, Thank You.
To the Editor:

With a finite amount of property on San Juan Island, it would be unconscionable to make another mess on the island.

It would be immoral to move the dump facility to a new neighborhood and away from the neighbors who knowingly elected to live nearby. If the decision to move is about the improper zoning, then the proposed Essential Public Facilities Ordinance should change that.

If the decision to move is about the Town vs. County ownership and liability for the landfill, then it should be remembered that whether we live in the town or the county, the garbage was created by all of us and we should all bear the responsibility for taking care of the landfill.

Jane Cable
San Juan Island
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County Planed To Move Dump
To the Editor:

Despite the wishes of land owners near the Beaverton Valley site, this is the best site for the county. That is the reason that they bought the site!

Lee Brooks
San Juan Island
---------------------------------------
Less To Rebuild The Dump
To the Editor:

Why have two dumps on the Island? Furthermore, I am confident that the Sutton Rd facility can be improved to meet all our future needs, even recycling, hazardous waste collection, and reuse. I only have to look at the Ballard Transfer Station to be convinced of this. In addition, I'm sure that the costs to improve Sutton Road will be SUBSTANTIALLY less than the costs
to develop any other site, especially when land costs are included.

I fear that the only reason this has gone so far is so that Public Works can relocate and consolidate themselves. I have yet to see a compelling reason for this, either.

Larry Wight
San Juan Island
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Rebuild The Dump
To the Editor:

We need to keep the dump where it is and spent the money on the rebuild. Too much has been spent on this issue already.

Jim & Patsy Scribner
San Juan Island
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Thank You Juniper
To the Editor:

Juniper~ Thank you so much! You've done the work ( “A flawed Process”) for so many of us...I appreciate it.

Margaret Bell
San Juan Island
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Unfair To Move It
To the Editor:

Keep the dump in it's current location. Moving the dump is ridiculous, irresponsible and a waste of taxpayer money. it is unfair to property owners near the new location who did not buy knowing they would be living near a transfer station therefore lowering their property values.

Thank you.

Lauren Cohen
San Juan Island
---------------------------------------
Upgrade The Existing Dump
To the Editor:

Your guest editor Juniper Maas “A flawed Process” is right on! This young women has got to be speaking for the mass majority of Islanders.

What are these elected officials, employee’s and committee members thinking. They are not representing the average tax payer, for the millions they have wasted on property purchase and property evaluation they could have bought and upgraded the old dump. Helping the Town of Friday Harbor and using the dump site that can’t be used for anything else anyway.

While the people are struggling to maintain, our local, state and federal governments are spend our money like they have an unlimited supply.

Terri Brown
San Juan Island
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