Oregon, our clean, green state, is actually a leading importer of other places' garbage - and there could be a lot more of it on the way.
"The city of Honolulu, which is fast running out of space at its main landfill, has hatched a plan to send container ships full of garbage across the Pacific to the U.S. mainland," according to a Portland Tribune editorial. "One option is to send garbage up the Columbia River to Rainer, where the contents would be transferred onto trucks or trains bound for the Columbia Ridge Landfill near Arlington in Eastern Oregon.
"As imports go, garbage isn't exactly a high-value commodity that states are lining up to pursue. In fact, most states are more interested in getting rid of their municipal solid waste than in bringing it in. Oregon, on the other hand, has tapped into demand for landfill space and is now the fifth largest importer of garbage in the country. Oregon owes its leadership in the garbage industry primarily to Seattle, which sends more than 2 million tons of trash a year to Columbia Ridge by rail on what is affectionately referred to as 'the perfume train.'"
Hawaii lags far behind Oregon - and most other states - in recycling efforts; according to the Honolulu Advertiser, the city of Honolulu just completed its first pilot curbside recycling project this month, and curbside recycling isn't slated to go into effect island-wide until 2010.
"It is ironic," the Portland Tribune editorial continues, "that a state that prides itself on environmental consciousness and sustainability has gotten into the garbage business in such a big way."
"Ironic" doesn't begin to describe it. But, hey, a buck is a buck, right?
And now that the real estate boom has gone bust and the City of Bend is cash-strapped, maybe we should consider getting on board the garbage gravy train. After all, we have 1,500 acres of mostly empty space called "Juniper Ridge."
(A tip of the hat to Jake at utterlyboring.com, where The Eye first spotted this tidbit.)