"A Mountain of Trouble"

"SWEET HOME — When longtime Eugene developer and businessman Dan Desler went looking for new opportunities a decade ago, he zeroed in on this struggling former timber town of about 9,000.

He said he wanted to give Sweet Home new jobs and create a giant eco-friendly residential-commercial complex on the banks of the South Santiam River unlike anything ever seen in the western United States.

But Desler’s dream has turned into a nightmare of garbage-dumping fines from state environmental regulators, an asbestos investigation by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, an investigation by Oregon charities regulators, and numerous civil lawsuits from angry creditors.

At the center of Desler’s woes are vast mounds of industrial garbage on property he controls. There’s enough shredded waste plastic, waste cardboard pulp and other trash to fill up to 12,000 standard dump trucks."

Mark Baker and Christian Wihtol report for the Eugene Register-Guard May 10, 2009.

Monday, May 11, 2009