Smelly Tualatin compost facility draws big crowd of frustrated n - KPTV - FOX 12

Smelly Tualatin compost facility draws big crowd of frustrated neighbors for meeting

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Attendees at Monday night's meeting. (Image: KPTV) Attendees at Monday night's meeting. (Image: KPTV)
TUALATIN, OR (KPTV) -

Around 150 people filled a room at the Sherwood Center for the Arts Monday night to discuss a foul odor in Tualatin that neighbors say has gotten worse.

Neighbors who live near Grimm’s Fuel Company’s estimated 80-foot high compost piles, where they say the smell is coming from, are fed up with what they call “inaction” by several government agencies.

“Here we are, 2018, having the same conversation; dealing with the same odors,” said Emily Gonzalez, who lives near Grimm’s.

People attending the meeting said they could smell the compost across the Portland area, even reaching as far as Wilsonville.

“We’ve been talking about this till we’re blue in the face,” said Anthony Miller, who says he’s sick of the stench.

Though there was no sight of Grimm’s employees at the meeting, Metro, DEQ, and other agencies came together to try and give the community the answers they wanted. 

Tualatin neighbors say they started smelling the stench a few years ago. First sporadically, but now they say it’s two or more times a week.

Gonzalez said she moved away and she’s about to move even further because of her daughter’s health problems, which she claims are due to the smell.

“We lived in Pony Ridge, the neighborhood across from Grimm’s, and she got out of the car and started dry heaving. The stench was overwhelming, and she threw up in our yard,” said Gonzalez.

She and about 150 other people showed up to the meeting Monday night which was organized by Metro, one of the agencies that oversees Grimm’s operations.

But people like Miller say the seemingly never-ending notices to Grimm’s from DEQ about the odor requirements haven’t made a difference.

“It seems like it’s just this never-ending cycle of just, ‘We’re going to be better. No, we’re not. We’re going be better, but no we’re not,’” said Miller.

“We have a due process with all facilities. I can certainly understand the frustration from residents who live nearby, who are experiencing the impacts from Grimm’s, but businesses also have a due process as well as residents. So our goal, of course, is to try to balance and allow businesses to have regulatory certainty, while we can still have environmental protection,” said Nina DeConcini, senior manager for DEQ Northwest region.

What everyone at the meeting could agree on Monday night is that no one is trying to put Grimm’s out of business, and no one is opposed to composting.

“There’s better technology out there. There’s a better situation. Forced air is something that can really benefit what we’re trying to do,” said Miller.

Metro spokesman Ken Ray says they also want Grimm’s to be sustainable for the long term, because, as a composting facility, it plays an important role in the region. 

Last week, Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue issued Grimm’s a correction notice requiring them to reduce their pile size from 80 feet to 25 by May of next year.

Not everyone is happy about the timeline.

“Are we just trying to give them notices that hopefully, in the goodness of their heart, they correct it? Or are we going try to move them in action, to try to solve the problem at hand?” asked Miller.

FOX 12 did go to Grimm’s Monday, but was asked to leave. 

Ray said they have hired a consultant to review how Grimm’s can improve their operations, and they expect those results in July.

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