Troutdale bowing to Metro pressure on business recycling
In an effort to comply with Metro requirements established in 2008 and to avoid having further Metro funds withheld from the city, Troutdale is finally taking steps to implement a city-wide business recycling program.
Troutdale is the only municipality in the regional government's jurisdiction that did not adopt a Metro program, established in September 2008, requiring businesses to separate recycling from garbage. Each of the 24 municipalities is responsible for enforcing its own restrictions, which Metro required to be in place by February 2009.
In 2011, two years after the requirement went into effect, the Troutdale council voted against a program mandating that businesses separate paper, plastic and glass from garbage, going against the Metro requirement.
Because Troutdale hasn't complied with the ordinance, Metro has withheld money from the city since 2010, according to a memo written by Troutdale Environmental Specialist Ryan Largura. Metro increased its enforcement action in 2016, and withheld more than $83,000 over the five-year period.
Metro has sent letters to the city warning it may take further action, including withholding more funding, not awarding discretionary money and requesting broader enforcement through state government.
Troutdale City Councilor David Ripma said the council initially voted the ordinance down because of strong vocal opposition from citizens and business owners.
Largura said the restoration of Metro's withheld funding will cover any expenses needed to initiate the program, including buying recycling bins for organizations that need them.
City Manager Ray Young said a recycling program is less of a burden to business owners now than it was a decade ago because recycling has become more commonplace.
The council is expected to vote on adopting a recycling ordinance during its Tuesday, July 9, meeting.
Most Troutdale business owners won't have to change their business practices after the council adopts a recycling program, Largura said. "The bottom line is the ordinance would require businesses to do what they have been likely doing for years voluntarily, and what most citizens do already. … It simply requires businesses to separate their trash from their recyclable disposables."
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