Daniel Baca and his neighbors live along Bear Creek Road. A quiet, rural community east of Bend and just 3/4 of a mile away from a proposed landfill site.
“Very much so I’d consider moving and I’d be moving away from my house that I built with my own two hands. It was something that was considered our dream home,” Baca said.
The project needs more than 460 acres of land to develop.
“It will take the road that we live on which is a nice dirt road and turn it into a main thoroughfare, and a thoroughfare for trash and garbage,” Baca said.
It is just one proposed site out of 13. Residents of areas near the other proposed sites filled a Deschutes County meeting room on Tuesday, airing their grievances.
“Those dust devils, they’ll have the strength to pick up the garbage. And all the extreme winds out there, they will move the garbage around,” one Millican Valley resident said.
“When you have a landfill site like this, and you have the methane fires that are created from the decomposition of the materials, these create violent thermals that are going up 50-60 mph. If a hang glider pilot hits that, that’s total death,” another Millican Valley resident and pilot said.
Even Chad Centola, Director of Deschutes County Solid Waste and a member of the committee that ran Tuesday’s meeting, lives along the Rickard Road Proposal site.
“Well when I saw it come up on the list, I was not thrilled. I mean, I live there too. I relate to everything the poeple in the community are saying,” Centola said. “But I have a job I’ve been retained to do here for the county. My role is to function in the landfill siting process, not as a property owner.”
Knott Landfill is forecasted to reach capacity by 2029, meaning they need to start development on a new dump in 2027 — a very tight timeline.
In the meantime, Baca hopes more people come visit his neck of the woods, so they can see what would be wasted if the site is approved.
“We’re real people too,” Baca said. “Even though we live on the east side and it’s quiet and nice over here, come out yourselves. BLM is right across the street. It’s for you to enjoy. See what is potentially going to be pushed over.”
The next public meeting for the landfill proposals is February 16.