News for those who live, work and play in the Santiam Canyon

Commissioners to accept more CAFO input

After extensive discussion May 13, Linn County Commissioners agreed to reopen a code text amendment process.

The issue concerns Confined Animal Feeding Operations for which the commissioners had approved a one-mile setback from neighboring properties that contained dwellings.

Since the approval in December 2023, the commissioners have received input from members of the agricultural community who believe the setback is too stringent. The Planning Commission recommended a three-quarter mile setback and the original proposed text suggested a half-mile setback.

The action came because a company wants to establish a large CAFO in the Scio area that would produce millions of chickens annually. Neighbors were concerned the facility, which would require several large buildings, could affect air and water quality for a local school and the nearby river.

Options on the table Tuesday ranged from adopting the text code amendment as is and instructing staff to begin an amendment process, to reopening the issue and bringing more stakeholders  to the table before final adoption is made. 

Planning Manager Alyssa Boles said the commissioners could hold another public hearing after posting a Legal Notice for 21 days and notifying people who had provided comments at the previous hearing.

At the Public Hearing, the commissioners would set the parameters for written public testimony to be received, likely seven days and then another seven days for responses.

In all, the process will take about five to six weeks, Boles said.

The commissioners agreed to follow this process.

In other business, the commissioners:

• Approved a four-year contract with Heath’s Laundry in Albany to provide services for the Linn County Jail.

• Were informed by Planning and Building Director Steve Wills that there were 330 total permits issued in April. There were 50 land use permits issued. Wills said Planning and Building staff members have developed a “History of Linn County” story map, now on the department’s web page.

• Approved the closure of North River Drive near Sweet Home beginning at 7 a.m. June 8 and 9 and Quartzville Road at 8 a.m. June 9 to accommodate the annual Best of the West Triathlon.

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