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Want to keep a waste transfer station out of your neighborhood? Open a hog farm

Top photo, the entrance to E.J. and Elizabeth Thorndike
Top photo, the entrance to E.J. and Elizabeth Thorndike's farm on Cattle Point Road. Bottom photo, Cattle Point road at the entrance to Daniel Lane; Thorndike's property is across the street. Thorndike is opposed to the possible location of a waste transfer station on Daniel Lane.
— image credit: Richard Walker

It's been said that if you want to stop growth in your neighborhood, open a hog farm.

But could the threat of a hog farm influence the county's decision on where to site a new solid waste transfer station?

E.J. Thorndike has made known his opposition to the possible location of a waste transfer station on Daniel Lane. The entrance to the Daniel Lane site is across the street from his farm on Cattle Point Road. The farm is known for its grazing horses, periodic display of antique tractors, and its big red barn. The farm is a periodic venue for Republican events; Dino Rossi, candidate for governor, arrived here by helicopter during his campaign last year.

Thorndike, calling today from his home in Monterey, Calif., said he thinks his 45 acres on Cattle Point Road would make an ideal hog farm.

The hogs would help reduce the island's waste stream, he said. When islanders drive to the waste transfer station with their recyclables and refuse, they can stop by the hog farm and drop off their food waste. The hogs would be fattened on your table discards.

A buddy of his did that in Monterey, he said. Visited restaurants regularly for food waste that he "recycled" as hog food. The hogs were sold to market once or twice a year.

Thorndike said his land, and the island's food scraps, could sustain a farm of 600-700 hogs.

(Thorndike asked this writer for his opinion. This writer said he's glad he lives on Cape San Juan, to which Thorndike responded, "We get a good north wind once in a while.")

About those horses? "They're not compatible with a hog farm," Thorndike said.

The large red farm house? "It would become a caretaker's residence."

Zoning requests? None needed. "It's an agricultural zone," he said. "Just like they don't have to rezone to put a transfer station (across the street)."

Is he serious? He said his financial freedom (he owns and operates more than 1,000 rental units) "enables me to be ridiculous at times."

But he is serious about his opposition to the waste transfer station being located on Daniel Lane. "That would be an understatement," he said.

Neighbors on Beaverton Valley Road, the top site choice of the county Public Works Department and the Solid Waste Advisory Council, are opposed to it being located in their backyard. They worry about increased traffic and potential for contamination of groundwater.

Residents of Hillview Terrace want the existing waste transfer station on Sutton Road closed, saying it's an environmental hazard.

And now Thorndike has emerged as the first voice of opposition to the Daniel Lane site, which is the top site choice of the state Department of Ecology.

Thorndike admits that he "has no idea" where the transfer station should be located. But he knows he doesn't want it across the street from his bucolic spread. And he believes one voice — at least a firm voice — can make a difference.

He told of when Major Gen. Edmund Bower Sebree, commanding officer of Fort Ord, opposed the proposed location of a landfill at Fort Ord. The veteran of three wars told the powers that be, "No S.O.B. is going to build a dump on my military base while I'm the commanding officer."

The general didn’t abbreviate S.O.B. And the powers-that-be didn’t place a landfill on his base.

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