Metro's $4 billion transportation measure went down to defeat Nov. 3, as Portland-area voters rejected the largest local tax on the ballot. Within days, the regional government moved to shore up its finances in another department.
Metro, which oversees trash and recycling for the tricounty region, told cities this week it would likely raise tipping fees, the charge per ton that haulers pay to dump garbage at Metro's regional transfer stations, a change first reported by the Portland Tribune.
Due to uncertainty about the fiscal impacts of COVID-19, Metro did not raise fees during its normal budget cycle in the spring but informed partners of a $9.29 per ton increase—about 8%—last week.
It was not well received. In a Nov. 9 Tualatin City Council hearing, Mayor Frank Bubenik said, "Quite a few of us were shocked by this because it seems to come out of left field," while Councilor Paul Morrison called the midyear hike "unprecedented and extremely unfair."
Metro spokesman Nick Christensen said the increase, on which the Metro Council is likely to vote Dec. 3, has nothing to do with failure of the transportation measure and is needed because garbage tonnage is down while costs are fixed.
He says the fee hike would cost the average household just 60 cents a month.