Portland food slop program reaches fiasco stage
We wrote yesterday afternoon about a report that Portland is going to have to send its food slop for composting all the way to Kent, Washington, near Seattle, because the local facilities in our region don't have permits to process yard debris that has that much food in it.
A reader points out that the stuff is already going even further away. According to this report by the Portland region's "unique" Metro government, some of it is being shipped by diesel truck to a site between Moses Lake and Yakima (four and a half hours from Portland in good traffic), and more of it is going to Stanwood, which is between Seattle and Bellingham (four hours, and the traffic's usually not too good).
Compared with trucking it to a landfill in Arlington (two and a half hours away) to decay in the ground, schlepping it nearly twice the distance so that private companies can make a buck off it somehow helps the earth. Somehow.
Do you get the feeling there's a mobster aspect to all this?
Meanwhile, on the home front, KGW reported last night that record numbers of dirty diapers are turning up in the contents of Portlanders' blue recycling bins as they get sorted at processing centers. Apparently folks simply aren't going to live with soiled diapers in their driveways for two weeks at a time. And so they've figured out how to continue to have them picked up weekly -- just toss them in with the recyclables.
Honestly, having done the disposable diaper thing for several years in the not-too-distant past, we can't say that we blame the scofflaws. It's not that they're in it to cheat somebody out of money. You simply can't get regular garbage picked up from a house every week in Portland, at any price. And having that crap, literally, hanging around for two weeks at a time is unhealthy and intolerable.
So now the city or Metro government is going to start tracking down the offending garbage customers and fining them. Of course, the customers will deny that the diapers were theirs -- we'd throw ours in our least favorite neighbor's blue bin, which always has plenty of room -- and so the city will have to clog up the courts with garbage cases.
Or maybe we should set up a whole new garbage court. It could have ancillary jurisdiction over Rose Festival duct tape cases as well. Fred Armisen can be the judge.
When we try to explain this kind of stuff to friends and family out of town, we're more than a little embarrassed. It's like we all gave up a normal life to live in a bizarre cult, but instead of the Rajneesh or Jim Jones, we have Earl Blumenauer and Rex Burkholder.
Portland City Hall loves getting in residents' faces. The bureaucrats love adopting the adversarial posture toward their constituents. With a curbside program, that's a real recipe for disaster, as anyone who thinks about it critically will realize. It's like the tax system: A certain minimum level of consumer goodwill is essential. How many people can they fine? What if everybody just starts throwing everything into the blue bins?