By Kent Gray

Triplicate staff writer

When Hambro Forest Products decided it would bid on a contract to operate a planned solid waste transfer station here, Hambro managers knew they had to bring some experience into the firm if they had a chance of winning the bid.

What they didnt know was that the San Francisco firm Hambro partnered with, Waste Solutions Group, had an exclusive contract to dump trash at Dry Creek Landfill in Medford, the closest landfill to Crescent City.

As it turned out last week, that exclusivity agreement eventually drove other bidders from the process.

Its a matter of not giving in, Hambro President Dwayne Reichlin said. Weve never been one to throw the towel in. We didnt have the experience the (Solid Waste Authority) was looking for and that didnt stop us ... We were more than willing to get trained and we did what we had to do to get qualified for the contract.

Last week, other companies withdrew from the bidding process on the operational contract for the transfer station when they realized Hambro would have the shortest haul to a landfill, claiming the costs to ship garbage to more distant landfills would make their bids uncompetitive.

Representatives at Hambro this week said there is nothing improper about the companys arrangement with Waste Solutions Group, or the resulting exclusivity contract it created with the nearest landfill.

If we hadnt put something together with WSG (Waste Solutions Group) the garbage would be heading to Corvallis anyway, said Reichlin. Whether we were involved or not, WSG already had that agreement.

According to Reichlin, Hambro found out about WSGs contract with Dry Creek only after it had begun negotiating with WSG to form a partnership.

We didnt know a thing about their agreement, and we still know very little about it, Reichlin said. When we first sat down with WSG, there was never any mention about their agreement with Dry Creek. It wasnt until we contacted Dry Creek directly (and) they said they couldnt make a deal with us that we found out.

Employees at WSG said the only person at the company with knowledge of its contract with Dry Creek is on vacation until the end of July.

Hambro needed WSGs experience in the business of operating a transfer station, and Hambros facilities and location appealed to WSG. It was because of this the partnership was formed and not because of WSGs contract with Dry Creek, according to Hambro Vice President Charlie Compton.

This whole thing was driven by the need for us to get some experience, said Compton. Unless we were working with someone knowledgeable we werent going to get the contract.

Reichlin and Compton said Hambro would have submitted a proposal to operate the transfer station regardless of whether they formed a partnership with WSG and gained access to the Dry Creek landfill.

We still would have bid on it, said Compton. We would rather go to Medford because we run there anyway. But Corvallis was very interested and they were contacting us about putting something together.

Reichlin said he thought the other potential bidders bowed out prematurely, and the contract doesnt begin and end with Dry Creek.

The proposed transfer station is intended to replace the current Del Norte County landfill. Instead of burying garbage here, it will be trucked first to the transfer station, where waste will be sorted, and then trucked out of the county.

The landfill currently is slated for closure in 2003.