UPDATE: Marion County commissioners approve raising certain garbage rates 

The Marion County Board of Commissioners on Wednesday unanimously approved higher disposal rates for sites where people can drop off their own garbage.

Commissioners voted to raise certain garbage rates for the Brown’s Island landfill and composting, the county’s recycling and transfer stations in Salem and Woodburn, and the Covanta Marion garbage burner in Brooks. 

The county’s disposal rates had not previously been adjusted since October 2016, said Brian May, environmental services division manager, at the meeting.

The changes include new rates the county has not previously had in place that will allow the public to drop off yard debris at the Brown’s Island facility, 2895 Faragate St. S., for $15 per yard starting in October. 

May said at the meeting that the rate is equivalent to the cost of dropping compost off at local transfer stations, which have become overwhelmed in recent years. The option is also intended to be convenient for those who live near the facility.

The new rates will not impact curbside garbage collection for residents or businesses. That will be decided through an annual cost-of-service analysis in the fall, according to May.

Most of the rate changes will increase annually through 2026. “We don’t want to do this all at once and shock everyone,” May said at the meeting.

The raised garbage rates impact landfill demolition and items including refrigerators, air conditioners and medical waste.

“Even though we’re calling this a rate increase, really we’re providing services to people and we’re saying, ‘Hey, we’ve got to make sure that what we’re charging people for the services we’re providing makes sense,’” Board Chair Colm Willlis said at the meeting.

No one signed up to provide public comment on the rate changes before they were approved, according to Willis.

The board unanimously approved or advanced other agenda items, including a consulting contract for development and zoning code updates in the city of Detroit, as well as two sets of state funding: services for people with developmental disabilities and programs that divert minors from state youth correctional facilities safely.

Original story below:

Salem-area residents could pay more to dispose of some types of garbage if the Marion County Board of Commissioners approves a proposed fee increase.


Commissioners on Wednesday will hold a public hearing and then vote on whether to increase certain garbage rates for the Brown’s Island landfill and composting, the county’s recycling and transfer stations in Salem and Woodburn, and the Covanta Marion garbage burner in Brooks.

Marion County staff are proposing the changes because the county is losing money on several disposal rates, according to the agenda item. The suggested rates are expected to bring in $460,000 a year to the county’s Environmental Services Fund.

The current rate for items demolished at the landfill is $13 per yard. The proposed rates include raising that fee to $20 per yard in October, then by an additional $10 per yard each July through 2026.

The proposed rates also include increasing the rate from $20 to $25 for each refrigerator or air conditioner that is thrown away starting in October. Tires with rims could be raised from $4 to $10, and those without them from $2 to $5.

The $87.45-per-ton rate for throwing away medical waste could be raised to $150 per ton in January 2024, followed by an additional $75 each year through 2026.

To participate

The commissioners meet at 9 a.m. Wednesday in the Senator Hearing Room at 555 Court Street N.E. Anyone can attend or sign up to give public comment in-person at the meeting. The meeting is streamed live on YouTube.

Wildfire recovery

Commissioners will consider a $116,000 contract with Portland-based consultant SERA Design & Architecture for the city of Detroit to plan downtown development and update its zoning code.

The funding is intended to help the city rebuild three years after the Santiam Canyon wildfires. The project would be paid for by Marion County lottery funding and reimbursed through a U.S. Forest Service Grant.

Incoming state funds

The board will consider accepting $31.8 million from the state Department of Human Services for the county to “oversee and provide services” for people with developmental disabilities through June 2025, according to the agenda item. 

Such services would include licensing adult and child foster homes, individual case management and abuse investigations, the agenda item said.

They will also consider accepting $1.9 million from the Oregon Youth Authority intended to pay for programs and services that divert minors from state youth correctional facilities safely. 

The county receives such state funding every two years.

Also on the agenda

Commissioners will consider paying $177,000 to Correct RX Pharmacy Services, Inc. for continued pharmaceutical services at the Marion County Jail through June 2024.

The board will also consider spending about $297,000 to replace six 2024 Dodge Durangos and one 2024 Ram 1500 SSV pickup. The county replaces light duty vehicles each year based on their age and condition.

Contact reporter Ardeshir Tabrizian: [email protected] or 503-929-3053.

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Ardeshir Tabrizian has covered criminal justice and housing for Salem Reporter since September 2021. As an Oregon native, his award-winning watchdog journalism has traversed the state. He has done reporting for The Oregonian, Eugene Weekly and Malheur Enterprise.