On Thursday, Feb. 4, the Metro Council voted unanimously in support of a resolution that authorizes Metro’s Chief Operating Officer, Marissa Madrigal, to purchase property that will allow Metro to further evaluate options for building a new garbage and recycling facility.
Metro staff recommended purchasing the property – located at 4th Avenue and Holladay Street in Cornelius – after 12 months of engagement with community members, government partners, industry stakeholders, and the general public.
While the property purchase does not obligate Metro to build a transfer station on that site, it will allow Metro to more realistically evaluate options for future operations, which would be intended to fill gaps in garbage and recycling services in Washington county.
Rob Drake, Cornelius City Manager, testified in support of the resolution, as did Mariana Valenzuela, Director of Community Partnerships and Civic Engagement at Centro Cultural.
Metro worked in partnership with Centro Cultural to form the Cornelius Community Advisory Group, which consists of community members most likely affected by construction of a new facility, with priority on communities of color, youth and people closest to the site. Members of the advisory group, Milka Mendez and Kelly Marquis, also testified.
“As an expert in recycling and an environmentalist, I want to emphasize the need for a transfer center in my community that allows us to get rid of materials, products and objects that pollute the environment in a safe, appropriate, easy and economical way,” Mendez said, in Spanish.
Mendez continued: “After clarifying the doubts and answering the concerns of some members of my community, I am enthusiastic about supporting the investment in the purchase of the property for the construction of the transfer center.”
Purchasing the property is a step in fulfilling commitments Metro made in its 2030 Regional Waste Plan, which was created in collaboration with community members from the greater Portland area and approved by Metro Council in 2019. The plan outlines key actions Metro will take to improve access to garbage and recycling services for communities of color and other marginalized communities, reduce waste and environmental impacts, and share the economic benefits of the garbage and recycling system across the region.
“I think that the voices that spoke today reflecting the Community Advisory Group, and having the mayor of Cornelius and the city manager speak positively about the project, to me, reflects an ecosystem of benefits we would bring, not only in terms of better services in garbage and recycling, but really the economic development opportunities – the living wage jobs that are part and parcel of acquiring something like this,” said Metro Councilor Juan Carlos González, whose district includes Cornelius.
Further engagement and evaluation will help determine options for which garbage and recycling services could be provided, as well as what community features might be part of the transfer station, such as education spaces, bike and pedestrian paths, and public art.
After the evaluation process, Metro Council will make the decision on whether to proceed with construction of a facility. “This is the first step in a very long process,” Metro Council President Lynn Peterson said.
View meeting materials and listen to a recording of the Feb. 4 Metro Council meeting here.