October 8, 2014, Goldendale Sentinel
The Port of Klickitat has leased nine acres at its Dallesport Industrial Park to regional composting company Dirt Hugger, LLC. Located along the east side of U.S. Hwy. 197 near Tidyman Road, the site is currently being leveled and graded. In addition, berms are being constructed to reduce the visual impact of the operation and other improvements will be made in the coming months.
Klickitat County, USDA Rural Development, and the Port have worked together to support Dirt Hugger’s move and expansion. Together they will invest over $100,000 to provide power, water, and pollution control infrastructure to the site. “Though we are sad to be leaving Oregon, Klickitat County has given us a warm welcome and we are thrilled about the new site and our new location,” said Dirt Hugger co-owner Pierce Louis. “We are excited by the opportunity to build a new, state-of-the art facility from the ground up and want to thank Klickitat County, the USDA, the Port, and our Kickstarter backers for all their support.”
The location is part of the undeveloped north end of the Port’s properties and a good fit for the type of use. “Folks aren’t always thrilled with the prospect of a commercial composting operation starting up in an area,” said Port Executive Director Marc Thornsbury. “That makes proper siting essential to avoiding conflicts. We looked at a number of factors including the quantity and type of nearby development. This location stood out because the immediate area surrounding it is largely undeveloped except for a smokehouse, an asphalt plant, and a garbage transfer station.”
New development isn’t likely to occur any time soon. According to Thornsbury, the cost to extend water and sanitary sewer mains to the area will likely exceed $4 million, delaying development of the surrounding property by at least 10 to 15 years. Even if the area does build out, Thornsbury remains unconcerned. “Dirt Hugger has worked hard to be a good neighbor in The Dalles and will be implementing best odor management practices at its new Dallesport location as required under the terms of its lease with the Port,” said Thornsbury. “That doesn’t mean it will never be detectable on an adjacent property, but the frequency and duration when it is detectable should be very limited.”
The Dirt Hugger expansion is a unique departure from more recent projects on Port properties. “A composting operation may not be a typical Port tenant, but it will deliver a variety of benefits to our community and region,” said Port Commissioner Jim Herman.
Started nearly four years ago in The Dalles, Oregon, Dirt Hugger collects and processes organic materials, giving residents and businesses in the Columbia River Gorge an environmentally responsible alternative to other disposal methods. Since its launch, it has collected over 10 million pounds of food scraps, spoiled fruit, brewery residuals, yard debris, and other matter and produced over 10,000 cubic yards of compost used by growers, farmers, and gardeners throughout the region.