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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on June 13, 2012 1:30 PM. The previous post in this blog was The new Old Boy?. The next post in this blog is Two more guys busted in Ashley's alleged hit-and-run-and-run. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Portland City Hall: Keep your garbage can clean

Our unsolicited hard copy of Portland Curbsider arrived in the mail from Portland City Hall the other day. Nothing says "green" like a four-page, full-color, 11-by-17-inch printed document. In it, the city keeps every residential mail customer educated about all the news relating to garbage pickup. In real cities, there is no news -- the garbage just gets picked up. But in Portland, there is always news, because garbage has become an enormous ordeal, and the city has an army of p.r. flacks hired to make it look like fun, or a religious experience, or something.

They seem to have run out of garbage news, because this time about a page and a half of the mailer -- more than a third of the content -- isn't about garbage, but rather is other propaganda relating to the city's endless quest for "sustainability." Farmer's markets, solar power, the almighty "Portland Plan," yada yada yada.

The one really important news tidbit is buried halfway down page 3: Garbage pickup fees are going up $1.20 a month, effective in a couple of weeks. But without food slop composting, they'd go up even more. Honest. Given that three different trucks now pick up our mess on a regular garbage day, that one's awfully hard to believe.

Probably the funniest section is this one -- what the average person is supposed to do to cope with the unmerciful stink that comes from having dirty diapers, dog poop, meat packaging, and other good old garbage picked up only once every two weeks:

If you show this to friends and family out of town, they'll refuse to believe it's real. One of our friends asked, "Are you still allowed to shave and use deodorant out there?" So far, yes.

In a real city, the populace would rebel. But this is Portland, where nonsense is the norm, so long as it's washed in "green." And so we soldier on through the unhealthy stench, all to keep the Arlington landfill free of biodegradable material. Styrofoam only! Go by streetcar!

Comments (25)

This kind of nonsense reminds me of a section in "Penn & Teller: Recycling is Bullsh*t!" where they fool a group of residents into believing they need to recycle their trash, including toilet paper, into some 14 or so different colored bins.

Once you realize the trust fund subsidized and government subsidized (that have more time to take care of such inefficient and unsustainable practices) speak ONLY to each other you begin to understand.

Doesn't make life any easier for normal people, of course.

You should do what a cruise ship does...freeze the food waste garbage, as suggested. Buy a freezer for the garage (if you were allowed to have one, or place the freezer in the living room or other convenient location) and toss the scraps in there. The good news is that the freezer doesn't use an enormous amount electricity. Just, well, lots of electricity.

It's a compromise on the path toward saving the planet, but no doubt yet another small price to pay.

Perhaps there's some program that will subsidize your solar panels to power the freezer. The hum won't bother you too much but the trash won't smell.

In a real city, the populace would rebel. But this is Indianapolis, where nonsense is the norm, so long as it's washed in "publicly funded sports stadia."

Go by pot-holed road to glorious sports facade.

The junk is the same everywhere. The characters and their "dreams" are just slightly different.

"If you show this to friends and family out of town, they'll refuse to believe it's real."

Funny you should mention. As the in-laws were visiting from Virginia, I showed them articles and related stories about our garbage-gestapo, ratting on neighbors, multi-modal-mecca-mumbo-jumbo, etc. They really could not believe that I had not manufactured the stories. And they are pretty liberal.

I like the part where I'm supposed to freeze my old meat and bones in my freezer until pick-up day. Um, no thanks City of Portland.

I don't want my local city government to improve me. I'm alright with myself. If I do get off track, I've got friends and family to set me straight. There are hundreds of people more qualified to give me lifestyle guidance than some Associate Environmental Planner I've never met.

What I would like is public safety, paved streets, water service, and my garbage picked up once a week. Without rate increases every three months.

Sounds like the 50s all over again with some glaring differences. We did not pick up our dog's poop off the side of the road and carry it home. There weren't so many dogs either. there was no such thing as disposable diapers, only cloth ones with rubber pants. They leaked. We live in a different world now and need to accommodate change.

But hip people want to put a foot in both worlds and get the best of each. It can't be done. Or at least done well. If the planner class keeps this up, public health and sanitation and vector control will be booming career fields. Welcome to our disfunctional future.

It seems to me that more people are concerned about the smelly garbage that only gets picked up every other week. The flyer very carefully avoids addressing that issue and instead concentrates on how to keep your food compost from smelling. Since that gets picked up every week
it does not have that long to ferment. Dirty diapers and dog poop however...

I was wondering about their position on garbage disposals and found this in their FAQ:

Q: Should I use my garbage disposal for food scraps?

A: Disposals aren’t meant to handle large amounts of food. Putting food solids into your disposal puts added stress on the sewer system and those solids must then be removed later.

You can see how this is going to work. More people will start installing these things and the city will start banning them (or an expensive permit process).

The benefits here are minimal, and the costs are high. It's a shame that this city can't find smart, adult leadership.

My suggestion: Buy stock in baking soda.

I agree that the city should not have sent out the glossy brochures - that was a real waste of money and resources. However, if people would stop whining about the composting process then the city would not feel obligated to continue educating us. If you can't figure out what to do with your dog poop (compost it yourself in your own yard) or diapers (switch to cloth) then perhaps you are not competent enough to keep a dog or a baby.

Vidamae, they sent out these mailers long before the new composting program.

And people aren't "whining" about the program. They're rightfully complaining because it is half-baked, inconvenient, imposed from above, and we're being charged more for it.

Maybe you consider it the height of civic resposibility to keep your mouth shut and follow orders from the social engineers, but some of us don't.

Hey, I got one of these "Portland Curbsider" things and I live in the middle of Lake Oswego! Maybe it's because some people living within the Portland city limits directly adjacent to Lake Oswego have LO postal addresses (97034) and it's just easier to send it to everyone in 97034 (LO also has 97035), but I've never received any other City of Portland informational/propaganda mailers. Very odd.

Of course, my distrustful mind immediately imagines this is the beginning of some Metro "mind manipulation" thing and next thing we know, Jack Hoffman (and other regional Mayors) will be bringing up this great idea in a Council meeting.

Vidamae, people who don't use cloth diapers are incompetent? Wow.

...people who don't commute on bikes are incompetent...
...people who don't have chickens in their yard are incompetent...
...people who don't have solar panels on their roof are incompetent...

just come out and say, "people who question the wisdom of out City leaders are incompetent" and just get it over with.

We continue as usual - veggie stuff composts in the back yard bin, other stuff goes down the disposal (take that, Suzie!). The yard debris pickup weekly is nice this time of year, as we have a lot of laurel hedge trimmings, but after trimming season's done, we won't have any need for it.

Fortunately, we're long past the diaper stage in this home, but I'd still like to trade the weekly cardboard/metal recycling pickup for the weekly garbage pickup. It's irksome to see folks two blocks away getting weekly pickup from the same company that used to pick up ours - it all goes to the same place, after all.

Oops, I'm told the LO postal overlap with Portland is actually zip code 97035, not 97034, so now I'm out of guesses as to why anyone in LO would be getting this Portland Curbsider thing.

Why thank you Vidamae, or should we call you Randy or Sam ?

Jack,

You missed the ultimate silliness in that entire 4 page piece of crap. In the bottom right hand corner of page 3 is an advertisement from the goofballs at Metro telling you how to eliminate junk mail.

I'm guessing the governmental do-gooders exempt themselves from that list.

It might be helpful if the waist/recycling transport drivers/engineers would close the damn lid on the bins after dumping the things. It just may stop the bins becoming wet and the need to line the bins "to help absorb moisture", especially on rainy days and the carts are left out until the home owner returns home from a hard days work. However that may add an unbelievable amount of stress to the transport person.

Maybe I should post this under a fake name so the Trash Police don't find me, but I'm about done with the kitchen slop bucket thing. It attracts ants (and I'm assuming fruit flies will soon be congregating as well), takes up space in the kitchen, and is unattractive (both the bucket itself and the contents...the lid didn't function so we had to remove it).

Our family of 6 rarely fills it more than twice a week...between teenagers and backyard composting, there just isn't that much food waste around here.

We're big on recycling and not producing trash, but this has become onerous.

Portland City Hall has become onerous.

Vidamae,
We do not have a dog. However we do have dog poop, since some of our neighbors seem to think it is okay to let their dogs run loose. I will not put dog poop in our compost pile as the pile is not hot enough to sufficiently break down any of the nasty stuff that is in poop. Trust me, after a couple of weeks in the garbage can, dog poop really stinks! It would be more logical for the blue recycling bin to be picked up every two weeks and the garbage cans every week.

Keep the Farmer's Markets. They are good for the 'little guy' and sell the healthiest food by far.

Plus, it gives me a job I can actually maintain. So that's good.

You missed the ultimate silliness in that entire 4 page piece of crap. In the bottom right hand corner of page 3 is an advertisement from the goofballs at Metro telling you how to eliminate junk mail.


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