Local Companies Take Action Against Lane County to Protect Customers

By Northwest Spotlight

Letter Highlights Multiple Violations with Lane County IMERF Contract

Eugene, Ore – On Friday, March 1st, the Lane County Garbage and Recycling Association (LCGRA) sent a letter to Lane County detailing major legal issues with their 25-year $150,000,000 Integrated Materials & Energy Recovery Facility (IMERF) contract with ‘BHS PROJECTS @ LANE COUNTY LLC’. The letter spotlights provisions of the contract in violation of the Oregon Constitution, state statute, County policies on public contracting, and even the contract itself. Additionally, this contract puts taxpayers at risk of an illegal corporate bailout.

“By taking this legal action, we are looking out for Lane County citizens – our loyal customers,” Jake Pelroy, a spokesman for LCGRA, said in a statement. “We will not be complacent in an illegal $100 million corporate loan bailout in the current IMERF proposal. These kinds of facilities are extremely risky, and the three commissioners who approved this deal imposed significant garbage tipping rate* increases on county taxpayers to offset costs associated with the project.”

In December, the Lane County Board of Commissioners voted 3-2 to move forward with the IMERF. The vote by Commissioners Laurie Trieger, Pat Farr, and Heather Buch included a 2024 & 2025 garbage tipping rate increase of 11% each year and a land purchase of $1,500,000 for the IMERF. Additionally, it purports to authorizes County Administrator Steve Mokrohisky to execute the IMERF contract (once finalized) with Bulk Handling Systems, the assumed business name of the private corporation who won the bid with Lane County. At the time of the vote, commissioners were presented with an incomplete contract, with ‘BHS PROJECTS @ LANE COUNTY LLC,’ a shell LLC that did not win the bid.Additionally, a provision in the contract states if either defaults on the contract, Lane County will be responsible for purchasing the private company’s equipment, valued at $100 million.

 The letter details the following: 

  1. The IMERF contract has a $100 million corporate loan bailout violating the Oregon Constitution’s prohibition on counties extending credit to private corporations.

  2. Any contract with a shell entity that did not win the RFP would be both financially irresponsible and void for violating public contracting laws and policies.

  3. If Lane County signs the IMERF contract as drafted, it would constitute fraud.

  4. Collaboration is a better way to ensure financial and environmental sustainability.

The Lane County IMERF contract is a business relationship with Bulk Handling Systems, an assumed business name for a multinational private corporation with headquarters offices in the US and Europe that specializes in Recycling Equipment and Materials Recovery Facilities. LCGRA is a local association of family-owned garbage and recycling processors in Lane County.

*Tipping rate fees are charged to commercial haulers for dumping waste at transfer stations or landfills, which are passed onto commercial and residential customers.