For the third year in a row, North Tabor and Mt Tabor joined forces for a combined neighborhood cleanup. The annual neighborhood cleanups provide the opportunity for residents to bring their bulky waste and certain recyclables to a convient location for a fee generally less than the minimum $28 charge at the landfill. Rates this year started at $10 for small carloads and additional fees were charged for larger loads. Approximately 225 neighbors made use of this event to clear out a lot of their junk and a few of them returned home with items purchased from the Resale Area.
Over the years the neighborhood cleanups have shifted focus from just providing a convenient way for neighbors to dispose of bulky waste to a concerted effort to reduce the amount of waste heading to the landfill. This has been accomplished through a focused effort to salvage and redirect as much of the materials and items as feasible to recycling centers and other programs to reuse or repurpose as much as possible. The biggest limitation for this effort has been the shortage of volunteers to make all the arrangements, help separate these items from the flow and deliver as needed to processors and other accepting organizations.
As in prior years, metals were separated and Portland Disposal delivered the container for which Metro Metals paid $338.40, to be divided between both neighborhoods. This effort received a boost this year when Andrew Hunt, from North Tabor, stepped up to manage a deconstruction area allowing more metals to be recovered. With enough volunteers next year we can extend the deconstruction area to be able to recover more of the hard plastics and wood as well for recycling.
The Rebuilding Center once again picked up a lot of materials we set aside and from the Resale Area. Green Century provided electronics recycling. McFarlanes once again allowed us to collect limited yard debris and wood waste by providing us a container for each. Robert Jordan delivered 4 pickup loads of recovered hard plastics to Far West Fibers, Bing Wong delivered 2 truckloads, Amy Chomowicz and Brian Brumley also delivered a truckload and Paul Leistner delivered several carloads of styrofoam to Recology. Deb Scott pitched in to haul the accumulated cardboard across the street to her house and delivered it later to Far West Fibers. And several other volunteers unhappy to see items from the Resale area headed to the dumpsters pitched in at the end to deliver carloads of useable items to Goodwill and the ARC. Due to the large amount of recyclables we are unable to arrange pickups for and serviceable items left in the Resale area at the end of the event each year the committee is looking to rent one or two UHaul type trailers next year.
Fees from participants amounted to $3420 which was evenly split between the two neighborhoods. For North Tabor this is our only fundraiser for the year. We managed to keep our reimbursable expenses (school rental, dumpster rentals, promotion, snacks, tools, etc) below our limit so we expect to get all our expenses reimbursed from the Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability. Metro waived the fees on the six dumpsters that were taken to the landfill, Portland Disposal gave us a great rate on the dumpster rental and hauling and that together with the two containers provided free of charge by McFarlanes helped us stay under budget. Laurelhurst Cafe provided coffee, tea, bottled water and delicious coffee cakes for the volunteers supplemented by the awesome, hot from the oven, cookies provided by volunteer Nancy Norby.
Comments from the collected feedback forms were for the most part very favorable. “nicely organized”, “It was great!”, “Thank You++”, “Grateful for this service!”, “Thank you, I arrange yardwork around this annual event.”, “Fabulous, lovely volunteers!”, “Great!”, “Keep up the great work!”, “Let’s keep doing this!”, “Great effort by volunteers–we appreciate it!”, “This was so awesome! Thanks!”, “Friendly help”, “Well organized, as usual!”, “I so appreciate you and all your hard work!”, “It was so easy!” were among the many positive comments. A few feedback forms indicated those participants felt the fees were too high, but more individuals actually donated more than the fee requested feeling they were getting a bargain. Others who had brought hazardous waste were unhappy and the committee apologizes for the erroneous information submitted in error to the Southeast Examiner in Mt Tabor’s meeting summary. And a hitch with one of the haulers delayed opening on time. But as a whole the event was quite a success and ran smoothly for the most part.
At least 30 volunteers showed up to help out during the event, many veterans of past cleanups and lots of new faces. The committee would like to identify volunteers early on who would like to take on crew leader positions to begin working soon on plans for next year’s event. If you would like to participate in the planning and organizing for next year’s cleanup, please email email@example.com or leave a message with your contact information at 503-928-4655. Let’s work together to make next year’s cleanup even more successful and sustainable.