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Approved as presented         

Approved with amendments         

Minutes of a special meeting
of the Oregon Environmental Quality Commission

Jan. 22, 2013

Two locations:
DEQ’s headquarters, 811 SW 6th Avenue, Portland - 10th floor, room EQC-A
DEQ’s Bend office: 475 NE Bellevue Drive, Bend – Main conference room


Tuesday, January 22 – Special meeting: 1 to 3 p.m.
Chair Blosser convened the meeting at 1 p.m.

Present: Chair Blosser, Vice-chair O’Keeffe (by phone), Commissioner Rider, Commissioner Armstrong (by phone) and Commissioner Johnson

A. Action item: Petition for rulemaking
Commissioners took action on a petition submitted Oct. 26, 2012. By law, the commission must take action on any petition within 90 days of its submittal.

Larry Knudsen, the commission’s legal counsel, provided an overview of the commission’s legal role and responsibilities related to this petition. Ellen Currie, Deschutes County Citizens Action Group president, presented the position of the petitioners. John Huddle and Judy Forsythe, co-petitioners, presented additional information. Currie, Forsythe and Huddle connected via phone from the Bend DEQ office. Mike Kucinski, DEQ Onsite Wastewater Treatment System program manager, presented DEQ’s position. Kucinski connected via phone from the Eugene DEQ office, and noted that Bill Mason, DEQ’s senior hydrogeologist, was also present in the Eugene office for any questions.

Following the presentations, commissioners asked clarifying and informational questions about the petition and the commission’s legal process for petitions.

Action: Deny the petition to initiate rulemaking and direct DEQ's Onsite Wastewater Treatment System program staff to:

  1. Continue working with the South Deschutes and Northern Klamath Counties Groundwater Protection Project Steering Committee to finalize recommendations to DEQ.

  2. Evaluate the feasibility of a Geographic Area of Special Consideration as authorized by ORS 454.615(1) for a area in and near La Pine, and report back to the commission.

Move: Commissioner Johnson
Second: Commissioner Armstrong
Commissioner Rider encouraged DEQ to assess if other areas of the state could be reconsidered as a comprehensive review of the statewide onsite program. Director Pedersen noted that the La Pine area is prepared to be an area of special concern due to the community’s engagement and commitment to successful environmental regulations for onsite systems. He also noted that resources expended in the La Pine area would be well-leveraged due to the work already done by DEQ and others to identify known limits and opportunities of the area.

The commission unanimously approved the motion with five commissioners in support.

speaker icon Audio (57 minutes)

B. Informational item: Key issues at Riverbend Landfill
Director Pedersen introduced the item and noted that the commission requested this follow-up information following public comment from a coalition of people opposed to Riverbend Landfill. Lissa Druback, Eastern Region Solid Waste program manager, introduced the item and presented background information about the project and site. Bob Schwarz, Solid Waste program staff, presented specific project information. He noted that the proposed permit change, a mechanically stabilized earthen berm, would be the first of its kind in Oregon.

Schwarz discussed the seismic analysis done by several consultants related to the permit application for this type of berm, and the elements that go into a seismic analysis. Druback explained that DEQ received a letter Jan. 16, 2013, from DOGAMI regarding the seismic magnitude used in DEQ’s decision-making processes. She noted that the letter, which recommended using magnitude 9.0 instead of 8.5, means that DEQ will need to conduct additional research on how that recommended change could affect permit decisions for Riverbend Landfill and all seismic analyses done by and for DEQ. Schwarz and Druback presented information about liquefaction, floodplain maps and flood-sensitive locations near Riverbend Landfill, soil excavation at and near the landfill, potential river migration due to major excavation at the landfill, nuisance odors and potential devaluation of properties near the landfill.

Following the staff presentation, the commissioners asked clarifying and informational questions. Druback noted that DEQ intends to meet with DOGAMI within the next month, to help identify a path forward for DEQ and its decisions related to landfills across the state. She noted that DEQ will inform the commission about conversations with DOGAMI and any resultant permit decisions, since the next regular commission meeting is not until March 2013.

At Chair Blosser’s request, Director Pedersen provided a short update about activities at DEQ. Director Pedersen discussed the upcoming 2013 Oregon Legislative Session and the agency’s progress developing its outcome-based management system. He noted that Commissioner Armstrong will bring an informational item to the March 2013 EQC meeting regarding opportunities for the commission to work more closely with the Board of Forestry.

speaker icon Audio (47 minutes)

Chair Blosser adjourned the meeting at 2:45 p.m.


2013 EQC meetings
March 20-21, 2013: Portland
June 19-20, 2013: Location TBD
Aug. 21-22, 2013: Location TBD
Oct. 16-17, 2013: Location TBD
Dec. 11-12, 2013: Portland