Apr 21, 2016

2016 Neighborhood Clean-Up Cancelled

Dear Neighbors:

I know that many of you are disappointed about the annual Clean-Up being cancelled this year.  I am too.  New regulations came out this year and our board as well as Foster-Powell have decided to see how these new changes are affecting other clean-up activities in the city.  Foster-Powell and MSA signed a joint letter to Metro, Office of Neighborhood Involvement and Southeast Uplift addressing our concerns. We hope that his is only a hiccup and plan to move forward again next year. It wasn't just Foster-Powell and MSA who decided to cancel, other neighborhoods have too (North Tabor, Mt. Tabor, Hosford Abernethy) . Our neighborhood volunteer who spearheads this effort has been leading this event in the neighborhood for 18 years!  Thank you, Shawna!

Information on other Clean-Up events can be found here: http://www.seuplift.org/what-we-do/neighborhood-cleanups/

Here's the letter we sent. 

April 15, 2016

City of Portland
Office of Neighborhood Involvement
Attn: Amalia Alarcon de Morris
1221 SW Fourth Avenue, Suite 110
Portland, OR 97204

Metro Regional Center
Attn: Kim Waxler  
600 NE Grand Avenue
Portland, OR 97232

Southeast Uplift
Attn: Anne Dufay
3534 SE Main Street
Portland, OR 97214

Re: New Regulations for Neighborhood Clean-Ups

Dear Neighborhood Clean-Up Partners:

The neighborhoods of Foster-Powell and Mt. Scott-Arleta collaborate every year to support the annual Clean-Up event. The annual Clean-Up is the biggest fundraiser for both neighborhood associations. We are disheartened that we decided to cancel it this year due to recent changes.

Metro is requiring that neighborhood association and our volunteers certify that drop-box loads of construction, remodeling or demolition debris are asbestos free. Every year, we receive loads of construction/remodeling debris. In fact, we believe that we will see fewer loads and neighbors participating in this event if we can’t accept construction debris -- not only in our neighborhoods but in all neighborhoods participating this year.  Loads of construction and demolition debris brought in by haulers will be thoroughly screened for asbestos by transfer station staff. Loads with any material suspected of containing asbestos without proper documentation will be turned away, and neighborhoods could face fines of anywhere between $2,000-$8,000.  Metro expects untrained community volunteers to analyze waste at the point of drop-off with the same level of expertise as professional staff are going to analyze waste at the point of delivery and the potential fine could ultimately wipe out our financial budgets.  

Does Metro, ONI or SEUL plan in the future holding a volunteer training event for those who will be checking loads at neighborhood clean-ups for construction debris that may contain asbestos? Or, will Metro, ONI, SEUL provide trained staff and/or volunteers at neighborhood clean-up events to certify that construction debris in car/truck loads do not contain asbestos? At this time the Foster-Powell and Mt. Scott-Arleta neighborhood associations are concerned that without the opportunity to collect construction materials we will lose revenue on this event and it may not be worth providing this program to our neighbors.

We hope that Metro, ONI and Southeast Uplift will provide us with additional data this year on clean-up events.  We would like to know the following:
  • How many neighborhoods are partaking in clean-up events this year compared to last year
  • If neighborhood participation in these events is down this year compared to previous years is it because of this new rule?
  • How many dumpsters are filled and hauled away at each event
  • Information on what other neighborhoods associations are charging; and
  • A list of best practices that other neighborhoods are using to ensure that no asbestos debris is being taken in and hauled to a Metro transfer station.

We are hoping with more data and information we can make better future informed decisions on how to hold a clean-up in the future, how we need to advertise these new changes to our community members, and  how to train volunteers, etc.  We hope that this event will be a continued success for us and look forward to learning from other neighborhoods who have decided to move forward with hosting a clean-up this year.

On behalf of the Foster-Powell and Mt. Scott-Arleta Neighborhood Associations

Brian Balla, FPNA Chair                    Erika Palmer-Wilson, MSA Chair  
Brian Balla                                              Erika Palmer-Wilson
Foster-Powell Chair                               Mt. Scott-Arleta Chair

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