Most people in the local architecture and building community know Jeff Joslin for his role as the Land Use Manager for the City of Portland, overseeing design review and historic landmarks review. But he's also a property owner on Sauvie Island, and Joslin has a bone to pick with his neighbor, the industrial dump that is looking to expand.
Joslin's property, which contains wetlands listed on the National Wetlands Registry, sits next to a 25-acre property owned by ESCO, and industrial foundry in Northwest Portland. Since 1977 ESCO has dumped foundry by-products like furnace brick and glassy slag there. (I just love the phrase "glassy slag".) As reported by The Sentinel, a North/Northeast Portland paper, last year the company applied for a conditional-use permit to raise the permissible height of its dump by 14 feet.
Joslin and his neighbors argued that the dump was a non-conforming use on land currently zoned for agriculture. The site currently also drains water into Joslin's protected wetlands. He argues it could also begin leaching contaminated groundwater. In fact, Joslin spent $25,000 of his own money on consultants (hydrologists, land-use, engineers, lawyers) to create evidence against the expansion. City employees must be better compensated than I imagined, because Joslin apparently sold his 1997 Porsche 911 to pay for the consultants.
But Multnomah County disagreed. Last month they approved ESCO's request to hugely increase their Sauvie Island industrial dump. County officials cited the fact that while Sauvie Island is zoned for agriculture, it can be used as a dump as long as it is in continuous use as one. In other words, the dump shouldn't be there, but it's been grandfathered in. And because of this idiocy, not only did poor Jeff just gave away a supercar for nothing, but the beautiful sanctuary that is Sauvie Island is gearing up to become a bigger landfill.
Maybe in some future autumn, instead of a corn maze at local farms, they can have one made of glassy slag.
Now Joslin is gearing up for an appeal. We're with you here at Portland Architecture, Jeff!