If the Albany planning staff has its way, there won’t be a Bottle Bill redemption center where the Oregon Beverage Recycling Cooperative wants to put one. So let’s hope the staff’s reservations can be overcome.
The recycling cooperative has asked the city to amend the zoning code to allow a redemption center for bottles and cans in the long-vacant Salvation Army thrift store on Southeast Santiam Road. The city staff is against it on the grounds that the area is zoned for a mix of neighborhood commercial uses. The staff fears the redemption center would draw people from all over the area, destroying the area’s neighborhood feel.
What neighborhood feel? Santiam Road is a thoroughfare, a shortcut to avoid Pacific Boulevard and downtown. The nearby skatepark already draws young people from all over. The boarded-up thrift store is a depressing eyesore. The central location is ideally suited for a redemption center because under state law all Albany supermarkets could make use of it (though Walmart only partially because it’s more than two miles away).
The redemption center would allow consumers to save up their returnable containers and drop them off for a credit once every few weeks or even months. No more waiting at those slow and often balky redemption machines. That’s especially helpful to school groups doing bottle and can drives to raise money.
The city planning commission will take up the beverage association’s request on Jan. 6, 2014. It should support the zoning amendments needed to allow plans for this redemption center to go ahead. (hh)