Two weeks ago I posted several photos of Troutdale's "perfect storm" of garbage , "Troutdale Garbage Day Pictorial, Jan. 24, 2007". The city also received dozens of complaints that week. Excerpts from one of these complaints:
"I was outside on my front lawn with gloves on picking up soiled diapers and womens feminine products. We have a nature trail that runs just behind our house and have raccoons, skunks and snakes. This isn’t simply a question of an eye sore; it is a biohazard and an attraction to dangerous wildlife."
"I have called Waste Management before and I have called City of Troutdale and play nothing but ping pong! The bottom line is; when does it become someone else’s problem?"
Some residents think we should just live with a trash filled town.. An anonymous comment on my blog said,
"I CAN'T BELIEVE I VOTED FOR YOU. IS THAT ALL YOUR GOING TO DO IS DRIVE AROUND AND TAKE PICTURES OF GARBAGE BLOWN OVER BY THE WIND.YOU LIVE IN A WINDY CITY. IS THIS YOUR FIRST WINTER HERE."
The Gresham Outlook interviewed me about the garbage mess after seeing the pictures on my blog,
"Troutdale Garbage Storm Prompts Debate Over Recycling Methods"
Throughout the comments, there was consensus on the cause of Troutdale's garbage day mess: folks aren't securing their garbage and/or recycling containers. Some people don't even use garbage containers- they just put out hefty bags, which are easy prey for the wind, birds, animals, etc. And all of this loose refuse ends up on someone else's property.
With all due respect to Mr. Anonymous, who thinks living in a windy city means accepting all the loose garbage caused by irresponsible people, I know we can do better than this. Most Troutdale residents are very responsible and secure their curbies, garbage cans, rollcarts, etc. But a large number of Troutdale residents don't. The irresponsible ones. It's the same every week, year after year.
I say enough is enough. Not requiring Troutdale residents to secure their garbage is ridiculous. Allowing residents to just put out a hefty bag is ridiculous.It's time to make the use of rollcarts mandatory for both garbage and recycling. It's also time to require that residents secure the rollcart lids down with bungee cords or other methods.These simple steps will solve the large majority of our loose trash problem.
There are benefits to this approach for everyone. Rollcarts for recycling make the job easier. Even when blown over by Troutdale's winter winds, rollcarts with hinged lids secured by a bungee cord keep garbage/recycling secure.
There's no need to presort (except for glass)-everything goes into one place. Waste Management stated that people tend to recycle more, by about 15-20%, when they use the rollcarts.
Mandatory secured rollcarts also prevent folks from just tossing out a hefty bag on garbage day. No more dodge-the-garbage-bag for Troutdale motorists. No more free food and the resulting mess caused by crows, raccoons, and other animals. No more loose tampons and piles of cans and newspapers in your neighbor's yard.
I've heard some people complain about the cost of being forced to use rollcarts. Are you kidding me? 35, 65, and 96 gallon rollcarts with hinged lids cost between $1.40 and $1.75 per month. Thats all!! You can't even buy a cup of Starbucks coffee for $1.75! If you don't want to rent a rollcart from Waste Management, I'm sure the city could buy rollcarts at cost and sell them to Troutdale residents.
It's time to hold those most responsible for loose garbage and recyclables accountable for their actions: If your garbage isn't secured, you get a ticket. An expensive one.
We should have a public hearing on this issue, then move ahead with strict enactment and enforcement of mandatory (and lid-secured) rollcarts for garbage and recycling. We should issue written warnings to violators, giving them fair notice of the consequences for failure to properly secure their garbage/recyclables. If, after a warning, garbage/recycling is still not secured the following week, a citation should be issued to the offending party.
Other folks may disagree with me. I know some of my fellow city councilors will disagree with me. But if we really want this garbage hurricane to stop, what I've described above is the only solution. It's simple and inexpensive. Any other approach is just talkin' trash.
This is a public safety issue. I'd rather make sure every Troutdale resident walks the clean city walk.