Better garbage operations sought

EVERETT — Snohomish County is negotiating to buy a rail yard from the Port of Everett to have more direct oversight of the system for sending local garbage to Eastern Washington.

The North Everett rail yard near the Snohomish River is where trucks take containers full of the county’s garbage to be loaded onto trains heading to Roosevelt, in Klickitat County. By buying the property, the county hopes to better manage its garbage operations.

“It’s basically just the ability long-term to control our own destiny,” County Councilman Dave Gossett said.

The deal-making comes at the same time that the county is preparing to reevaluate its $20 million yearly long-haul garbage contract. Allied Waste Services leases the port property the county wants to buy and uses it to send garbage to the Roosevelt landfill.

Peter Camp, an executive director for County Executive Aaron Reardon, said that the real estate deal is likely to take months to complete. During a council committee meeting last week, Camp outlined a 32-month timetable for renegotiating the long-haul garbage contract. The plan includes public comment, opening a request for proposals and selecting a vendor.

In the future, the job could go to Allied Waste or to competitors such as Waste Management or another major player in the trash-hauling business. Allied, of Scottsdale, Ariz., operates a system in place since 1992. Originally, the county contracted with Rabanco, which Allied later acquired.

The rail yard covers 15.8 acres in the Port’s Riverside Business Park on the Snohomish River, port spokeswoman Lisa Lefeber said. The land includes railroad tracks and a spur of Burlington Northern Santa Fe’s rail yard. There are two small field offices and a maintenance building, with most of the rest of the area for storage and moving cargo.

The port’s contract with Allied Waste is set to expire in 2018, when the company has the option to renew for another 10 years. Allied pays the port about $660,000 annually.

Noah Haglund: 425-339-3465, nhaglund@heraldnet.com.

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