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One of four in the city, public works says costs of repairs and upkeep outweigh benefits

The Madras City Council voted Tuesday, Sept. 13 to close the RV dump station located on B Street. The station is currently clogged, and repairs would require significant construction and cost.

The RV Dump, opened in the 1990s as the sole option of RV dumping in the city. Now, three other dumpsites are within city limits, at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds, Chevron station and Love's Travel Stop.

The dump station has caused significant problems for the county, increased costs and sanitation concerns.

Public Works office coordinator Michele Quinn reported that the city fielded multiple calls a week to repair blockages and do repairs on the site. The blockage currently stopping the site from working properly has been unfixable with conventional methods.

The city estimates $6,000 to $10,000 is needed to repair this blockage. The annual revenue from the site is only $2,400. The repairs would involve cutting through concrete, removing pipe and putting everything back together.

"I realize it's convenient for some people, but there are three other sites in town," said utilities manager Dan Hall addressing the city council. "I would appreciate if you would consider decommissioning it and taking that burden off of us."

In addition to the large repair and upkeep costs, neighbors have complained about people undressing and bathing at the pump station, which is unsanitary. People in the Public Works Department have begun to identify a possible alternative location for a frost-free hydrant for the homeless community.

The city does not charge a fee to use the dump site, and it's open 24 hours a day seven days a week, leaving it vulnerable to vandalism and misuse.

"Our utility manager is very concerned with what is being dumped down the dump station, and how it affects our wastewater treatment plant," said Quinn. "Most of the other stations that are located in town are monitored so they know what's going down it. Due to the fact that we don't have any way to monitor and it's open 24/7 at all hours of the night, we have no way to really know what's going down."

Adding terminals to allow electronic payment for the site would cost the city approximately $6,500, not including installation and upkeep costs.

"Even with a charge similar to the other locations in town, the dump station would not generate enough revenue to cover equipment costs and support a person to monitor the site," said Quinn.

The city council voted to close the dump site, though some expressed opposition to its closure.

"I would strongly oppose closing it. As somebody who uses it and camps a lot, I think there's got to be a way to monitor it better," said Councilor Jennifer Holcomb. "I'm not a fan of this proposal, I think that we need to find those people that are destroying and causing the problems. I get that it's not a high revenue item; I just don't know that this is the actual fix."

The council did, however, approve the closure of the dump site, relieving public works from the growing expense of maintenance and monitoring. The site is closed now, and will remain closed and decommissioned.

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