Tryon Life Community Farm (see "Buying the Farm," WW , Dec. 28, 2005) has long focused on creating a seven-acre sustainable community in Southwest Portland where about 20 residents can live "green" and thousands of schoolchildren can visit.
The Rogue Desk has no problem with how people want to live or with 12,000 kids visiting last year. But we draw the line when farm leaders' desire to be eco-friendly creates potential groundwater issues.
City and state water regulations forbid many of the farm's green building efforts, such as building composting toilets that let human waste be used as fertilizer and draining bath water into gardens.
"Bath water is considered sewage; it can contain pathogens, and the discharge of sewage is not allowed," says Mike Kucinski, water quality manager for the state Department of Environmental Quality.
Now, as the Portland Tribune reported Jan. 4, Tryon Farm wants the city to amend building and land-use policies for its green efforts. Tryon Farm's John Brush tells WW part of the farm's goal is to make it easier for all homeowners and small developers "to build and design and live green."
But if the city doesn't adopt the farm's suggested code amendments, Brush says the cost to conform Tryon's plans to existing code would be $20,000.
Portland's City Council already supported the farm two years ago when the city appropriated $200,000 for a conservation easement (Metro provided another $100,000 toward the farm's $1.6 million land purchase).
As for the farm's new request: The public can weigh in at a 7 pm meeting Thursday, Jan. 17, at Laughing Horse Books, 12 NE 10th Ave.