This morning, I'm doing what I can to help document the facts about a situation that's developing right in my backyard in Talent, Oregon, where a company that calls itself Mountain View Paving is flagrantly polluting the air, water and and soil of the property its been squatting on, destroying Lynn Newbry Park, and poisoning of the users of the Bear Creek Greenway with toxic asphalt fumes and dust. It's also poisoning the air I breathe every day.
Paul Meyer, owner of Mountain View Paving, purchased the residential land its using to do business on in 2002, according to the Jackson County tax records. The property is right on Bear Creek, and 85% of it is in the floodplain and on the wetlands. It has no road access except by an easement through Lynn Newbry Park, a Jackson County park administered by the City of Talent.
The land that Mountain View Paving began using as a "gravel pit" is, according to the tax records - and to any child who might stand and look at the property - "partially underwater." It's right in the wetlands! And the county has been taxing Mr. Meyer for his business use of the 10-acre parcel, as it if were residential property. The tax bill been $586 a year.
The land, by the way, is not only right on the Bear Creek, it is right next door to 165 senior homes, homes for which the owners each pay at least TWICE the taxes that MVP pays for its current land use, without accounting for the additional taxes paid by Chris Hudson, who owns the real estate that our homes are on.
So, a business that 12 years ago bought a gravel pit that's partially underwater and installed a "temporary" asphalt stack on residential land - land in the floodplain, on a wetland, next door to an established residential neighborhood - has now, without any permanent land use authorization, "morphed" one year at a time (using annual variances) into a full-fledged asphalt manufacturing site.
All this without even paying business taxes on the land.
This "business," squatting on land with no access to it except an easement running right through a public park, now says "it's always been manufacturing asphalt there" and has petitioned the Jackson County Commission for permanent land use authorization to continue polluting the air, water and soil in a wetland, next door to a park and 165 senior homes. In fact, they've bought another stack and intend to expand on this site.
Neighbors learned this week that Jackson County staff is recommendiing that they be authorized to do this.
Help me out, please. Does any of this make ANY sense to you whatsoever? Is this any way to treat people, air, precious land and water?
Why not just MOVE the original "temporary" asphalt stack to a safe, appropriate location for this kind of industrial activity? A site that's not next door to an established neighborhood, on a creek, on a recreational greenway, with its only access through a county park?