Saturday’s Jade District Dumpster Day and Solve Oregon cleanup attracted dozens of volunteers and a stream of vehicles dropping off large trash items. Within the first hour of operation, people filled 30-yard dumpsters at two drop-off sites. Instead of closing three hours early, the events coordinator, Alisa Kajikawa, picked up her phone and arranged for additional dumpsters. Before the day was done, yet another cycle of dumpsters rolled in to accommodate the overwhelming demand for trash disposal.
Kajikawa, the Jade District Manager, organized this one-day event with funds from Oregon Metro and support from the 82nd Avenue Business Association. The four-hour-long program included a community cleanup and open dumpster access for neighborhood disposal of bulky items.
Volunteers with Solve ventured out with 33-gallon carts to collect trash throughout the area and bring back items of all sizes to the primary dumpster site, located in the Unicorn Inn’s parking lot at 3040 SE 82nd Avenue. Nearby campers used shopping carts to roll in trash from their area and help clean up the streets.
The dumpster on SE 82nd Avenue, and one on SE 92nd Avenue, were open to residents seeking a free place to dispose of items not collected through curbside trash pickup. Demand for dumpster use far exceeded expectations, and both sites eventually had to turn people away. Even after staff filled the five 30-yard trash containers to capacity, a stack of mattresses remained awaiting pickup by a recycler.
The dumpster demand seen over the weekend signals a great need in Portland for more events like the Jade District Dumpster Day. In 2020, The City canceled a long-running program that worked with Neighborhood Associations to host dumpster days across Portland. These events acted as an annual trash release valve that reduced the number of illegal dumps. Now groups like the Jade District are scrambling to find funding to meet the demand for trash disposal.
The original budget for the event only included funds for two dumpsters. The added cost of the three extra dumpsters will need to come from grant reserves and other funds within the organization. The success of the cleanup is measurable by the tonnage of rubbish collected. However, it barely makes a dent in Portland’s trash problem. Based on the demand seen Saturday and the piles of illegally dumped items across the City, an event like this could run every month for years without slowing down.
Disclosure: The author of this article servers on the boards of the 82nd Avenue Business Association and Montavilla Neighborhood Association. He also volunteered at this event.