"Have you seen the mountain of dirt they are moving? It's huge!" Says Columbia Memorial's CEO Eric Thorsen talking with KAST news recently about a project people have been talking about for years. A new athletic facility that when completed by Columbia Memorial Hospital will be owned by the Astoria School District. The hospital reached an agreement with the city and the school district to take the responsibility to build a new state-of-the-art sports facility on top of the old Astoria landfill in exchange for the rights to develop the current football field on Exchange street.
While the work to date has seen a lot of dirt moved around in the first phase of the project the city has been working to accomplish what it gets out of the deal. The final closure of the old Astoria Landfill off Williamsport road has been one of those things on the city "to do" list for many years and presented a number of very expensive issues. It's not enough to cover up the old garbage piles and move on. The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality gets involved to make sure that there is nothing toxic involved and that the landfill has a venting system to prevent the build-up of methane gas from the decomposing waste. Then there is the Cap itself which has to be able to handle drainage and storm water run-off correctly. The DEQ has now determined there will be minimal work required by the city to decommission that landfill. The city will contract with the same engineering consultancy that planned the current WOW garbage transfer facility next to the landfill site. City Manager Paul Benoit asked the city council that he be allowed to forego the usual bidding process based on the company's experise in the field and their specific knowledge of the site.
The new atheltic facility CMH is building will cap the landfill and will be used for many sports activities . Use will be controled by the school district.