Sisters Recycling Center will stay open

County fronts 'green' to retain facility

POSTED: 6:46 PM PST January 14, 2013    UPDATED: 6:46 PM PST January 14, 2013 
SISTERS, Ore. -

Built in 2007, before many residents had curbside recycling, the Sisters Recycling Center was busy Monday morning.

"Oh, I probably drop things off here twice a week," said Kedith Wickware, who recently relocated to Oregon from California.

"Coming from San Jose, we had extensive recycling, so I would have been really disappointed if I had to go backwards," said Wickware.

Over the years, recycling in the Sisters area has increased, but with the economy in the dumps, funding for the depot has decreased.

"Just the transport alone, getting the material from Sisters to Bend is in the $30,000-a-year range," said Timm Schimke, director at Deschutes County Department of Solid Waste.

That's why there's been talk about closing the depot down, something City Councilor David Asson supports.

"We've got other priorities here in town. Where do you draw the line?" said Asson.

Asson's fellow city councilor, Wendy Holzman, told me over the phone Monday that she disagrees. If the recycling center was shut down, the other option for drop-off is more than seven miles from town. Wickware worries that would be too far for some.

"People aren't going to do that -- they're going to throw all their glass in the garbage and just continue to fill the landfills," said Wickware.

Unlike Bend, in Sisters, residents cannot get their glass picked up curbside. To keep the recycling center open, city officials and representatives from the county thought about raising rates.

"The proposal that was made was for 28 cents for billed account," said Asson.

Raising rates was a last resort, and for now, it's not in the county's plan. For up to five more years, the recycling center will stay open, with the county funding it, but that could change at any time.