San Mateo County Helps Local Recycler During Port of Oakland Slowdown
The slowdown at the Port of Oakland is wreaking havoc on South Bay Recycling (SBR) in San Carlos, the contractor that provides recycling operations for the South Bayside Waste Management Authority (SBWMA). The slowdown at the Port of Oakland is due to a labor dispute between Pacific Maritime Association and the longshoremen (ILWU) who have been working without a contract since July 1. The result is a pileup of containers on the docks, a flotilla of container ships anchored in San Francisco Bay and a warehousing issue for SBR.
In the meantime, SBR has been scouring the Bay Area for additional warehouse space to store bales of recycled material that are not getting out of the port to the foreign markets that buy the product. Mike Mahoney, a consultant for SBR, spent his holidays in search of warehouse space. According to Mahoney, “With the economic boom and the slowdown at the Port, there isn’t much warehouse space for rent, especially on a temporary basis, and what little there is – is expensive.”
Thankfully for SBR and Mahoney, the County acquired a 3.2 acre parcel in North Fair Oaks in December that happens to have 28,000 s.f. of warehouse space. The County made it available to the SBR in light of the current situation.
“San Mateo County Supervisor Warren Slocum expedited the process for us,” Mahoney said.
SBR is leasing the warehouse space at 2700 Middlefield Road in North Fair Oaks for $1/s.f. from the County. The short-term contract includes a requirement that SBR empty the warehouse, flagmen be hired to guide the trucks through the narrow, congested area behind the Fair Oaks Health Center, and that a parking area be striped to maximize parking.
“We had a signed lease and the keys to the warehouse in two and a half days,” said Mahoney. Staff from the County Manager’s Office, Public Works, County Counsel and the Fair Oaks Health Center all pitched in to get this done.
“Helping SBR helps the County,” Slocum explained.
As a member of the South Bay Waste Management Authority (SWBMA), a joint powers agency serving 12 cities and the County of San Mateo, he understand the implications of a disrupted flow of recycled materials.
“We are so fortunate to be working with SBR; their leadership during this slowdown is critical,” said Slocum.
“When their location storage facility filled up and there was no end in sight to the slowdown, they sounded the alarm. They handle all the recycled material for all the cities between Hillsborough and East Palo Alto,” Slocum explained. “For now, that problem has been averted.”
The County’s newly acquired property in North Fair Oaks abuts other county facilities and will be large enough to accommodate the construction equipment needed for the Middlefield Road Redesign. It also offers a variety of options for future use. But for now, the warehouse is a temporary storage solution for SBR and the mounting pile of recycled materials.
The South Bay Waste Management Authority is composed of the cities of Atherton, Belmont, Burlingame, East Palo Alto, Foster City, Hillsborough, Menlo Park, Redwood City, San Carlos, San Mateo, San Mateo County (County), and the West Bay Sanitary which includes City of Menlo Park, Atherton, and Portola Valley, and areas of East Palo Alto, Woodside and portions of unincorporated San Mateo and Santa Clara counties.