innocent after arrest on air pollution charges
Local businessman Dan Desler
is innocent of air pollution charges that resulted in his
arrest on May 11.
Desler, 65, is the managing trustee and founder of Western Oregon States Land Reliance Trust, which owns the former Willamette Industries property, located at the east end of Tamarack Street and north end of 24th Avenue.
is scheduled for arraignment on the charges on May 27, she
will be given a copy of the indictment, and he
will enter a plea and be given another court date, probably about a month later to discuss the possibility of early resolution.
The case revolves around seven buildings on the former Willamette Industries site that Desler
paid to have demolished between May 2007 and February 2008, Sternhagen said.
"We wanted the owner to hire an abatement contractor and get it going," Boyd said, and Desler
hired one in April.
informed Desler he
needed to get an abatement, Desler
"We hired a licensed abatement contractor (CRS) who was basically required to follow the law."
said the contractor attempted to abate the asbestos but the bank financing the operation was taken over by the FDIC
, and with the cloud of DEQ enforcement constantly looming, "no lender in the world would want to touch us."
Released on May 11 after posting 10 percent of a $100,000 bail, Desler
told The New Era he
was not aware of the asbestos problem before it was discovered during the demolition.
A Willamette Industries report from around 1985 identified "encapsulated" asbestos in the roofing and floor tiles, he
informed him that type of asbestos in the roofing, which is not "friable," was exempt and could be placed in a landfill, he
When friable, asbestos can become airborne when crumbling or burned.
That is why asbestos was a concern following an arson fire on the property in 2004, he
was not aware of the "transite" material, which contains asbestos, located under the roofing in the older section around the dry kilns, he
In any case, Desler
said, the metal scrapper working on the demolition was not instructed to tear that building down but went into that building after aluminum.
The roofing material also should have been taken off but not crushed, Desler
"At that point the damage was done," he said, and he let the demolition contractor go, calling in Staton and then CRS for testing and abatement.
Apparently, there was no final inspection for the Willamette Industries report, he
said, and the record is incomplete with the DEQ
Some material is marked "non-asbestos," which the DEQ
says contains asbestos.
"I've been honest," Desler
"I've been up-front with these people."
The demolition stopped when the transite material was discovered, and his
intent has always been to comply 100 percent, he
The arrest follows a year of mounting problems for Desler, WSLRT and Western Renewable Resource, a company in which he is a managing partner.
Western Renewable faces lawsuits from multiple creditors, including a $1.3 million lawsuit by Umpqua Bank
WSLRT owes four years, $250,000, of property taxes to Linn County and is now facing foreclosure proceedings.
has levied $192,000 in fines against Western Renewable, also naming Desler
and WSLRT, for allegedly operating a solid waste disposal site without a permit.
Western Renewable stockpiled and processed cardboard fibers from Weyerhaeuser and then sold the fibers for use as hog fuel and animal bedding.
Last year, the DEQ
required Western Renewable to stop processing the material at 2210 Tamarack St. and at 28389 Hwy. 20, west of Sweet Home
, and the city revoked its conditional use permit.
That effectively shut down the company, Desler
said, and it cost jobs in the Sweet Home community.
"If it hadn't been for the DEQ
coming in making unreasonable demands with no scientific basis, we'd still have 25 jobs," Desler
said, and the business would be shipping product overseas.
"We were in business until the DEQ
shut us down - sure, we were struggling," he
"I'm feeling crucified when my intentions have been to see this community thrive," Desler
innocent after arrest on air pollution charges (786)
innocent after arrest on air pollution charges (0)