In the 1980 documents that preceded the approval of Riverbend Landfill at its current site, and again when Waste Management took over the operation, many promises were made to the community. A sampling is listed below, followed by the reality of what has actually occurred at the site.
Promise: “The site will be kept in agriculture except for approximately 20 acres which will be taken out of agricultural production for landfilling purposes and when these 20 acres are filled, a new 20 acres will be utilized; the landfilled area will be re-converted to agricultural uses."
Reality: The current landfill covers 86 acres, none of which is now, or ever again can or will be, farmed. The total operations area of Riverbend now covers over 200 acres of high value farmland on the banks of the S. Yamhill River. The proposed expansion will cover 29 additional acres of landfilling.
Promise: "The floodplain area next to the river will have been lifted out of the floodplain and become better farm ground."
Reality: The landfill has excavated large quantities of soil from the flood plain area for use as daily cover on the landfill.
Promise: "No sight contamination will result from the use" as a landfill.
Reality: The landfill, at its current 135 ft height, is highly visible, from Highway 18, all surrounding roads and land areas for miles.
Promise: "Frequent cover virtually eliminates odor."
Reality: The landfill “odor shed” reaches out onto the surrounding area for miles and can be smelled as far away as downtown McMinnville (2+ miles distant); it is often strongest at night when cover, if it were the answer, should be covering all the working faces.
Promise: "The gas system is operating properly" (4-28-2016); "there are no issues with the landfill gas collection system" (10-26-2016); "all systems are functioning properly without any shutdowns or issues" (11-11-2016, 11-14-2016),;"we take odor complaints very seriously" (7-25-2017, 2-10-18); "all temporary cover and closure activities are performed with DEQ oversight" (6-4-2019); "all areas being filled are subject to DEQ oversight" (6-6-2019) and "approved and regulated by the DEQ" (8-28-2019). In April 2020, Riverbend sent the community "a brief update on what we’ve done in the last six months and our plans for the next six months" that did not mention the NOV. 
Reality: Riverbend's operation of its gas collection system in at least the four years 2016-2019 resulted in potentially serious harm to air quality in Yamhill County.
In January 2020 the Environmental Protection Agency issued a Notice of Violation (NOV) to Riverbend citing the landfill for gas emissions in violation of its air quality permit going back to at least 2015.
According to the NOV, Riverbend failed to comply with basic monitoring requirements including failure to discover and report "multiple exceedances of 500 PPM methane" during required Surface Emission Monitoring (SEM); failure to report or inspect "areas of cracks or seeps in the cover" or "areas of distressed vegetation and cracks or seeps in the cover"; failure to maintain landfill cover integrity; allowing water to equal or exceed 50% of well height at multiple wells; failure to maintain cover "to the extent practicable" to collect and control landfill gas; failure to "monitor well RVBDV210 for pressure, temperature, and nitrogen between October 2016 and October 2018." The NOV noted that the violations appeared to be ongoing.
Promise: Noise will be "about the same as the farm machinery." 
Reality: Noise, coming from loud back-up signal bells on trucks and other equipment, tipping/dumping activity, and landfill vehicles and machinery working the face, begins as early as 4:30 am and often continues long after operations supposedly cease.
Promise: "The surrounding property owners do not object to the landfill operation."
Promise: Riverbend predicted that it would import 850,000 tons of garbage in the ten years from 1992-2001 and a total of 1,042,450 tons in the thirty-year period 1992-2021.
Reality: Until Metro stopped sending waste to Riverbend in January 2020, the landfill imported ~525,000 tons of municipal solid waste each year, 70% of which came from outside Yamhill County.
The landfill's "available volume" is 4,360,000 tons.
Reality: The current permitted capacity of the landfill is 12,735,200 cubic yards, more than eleven times the predicted available volume.* During the period 1993-2006, the landfill accepted 5,748,109 tons of waste. After 2006 and each year through 2014, Riverbend accepted more than 600,000 tons of waste.
Promise: The landfill will reach capacity in ~2040.
* Per DEQ's permit notice for vertical expansion, March 2017: "Its [landfill's] permitted capacity is approximately 12,245,200 cubic yards. Under the current permit, the landfill is expected to reach capacity in mid-2017."
Per Bob Schwarz, 3-6-19: "The vertical expansion (the final grading plan modification) that we [DEQ] approved in 2017 provided for additional capacity of 490,000 cubic yards."
12,245,200 plus 490,000 = 12,735,200 cubic yards
** Applicant’s Initial Remand Submittal, July 8, 2020, at page 4
Promise: RLI will institute random sampling of loads brought to the landfill and will remove prohibited waste.
Now, random monitoring occurs but one still sees items that are either outright prohibited or could have been removed for recycling prior to being “dumped”.
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