Moving Ahead Spring 2018

Page 14

Trash Epidemic

Watch the video: ODOT Maintenance Manager Steve Stone sighed and shook his head as he walked over to the green, 27-yard dumpster sitting in the back of his Central Point maintenance yard. A mountain of bright yellow trash bags, along with shredded pieces of wood, torn cardboard and a broken shopping cart, filled the dumpster. “Five years ago, Rogue Disposal emptied that dumpster twice a month,” said Stone. “Now, we call them in to come empty it twice a week.” Stone said the Central Point maintenance crew has spent more than $60,000 on trash pick-up and disposal over the last year alone. According to ODOT District Manager Jerry Marmon, the maintenance offices in Ashland and Grants Pass have spent roughly the same amount combatting the litter problem. “The public money spent on clearing trash and disposal used to go to many other maintenance activities that benefit the public,” said ODOT District Manager Jerry Marmon. “As we’re forced to spend more and more taxpayer dollars just on trash, it feels like we’re throwing money away.”


March 9, 2018

In the Central Point maintenance section alone, which runs from Phoenix north through Medford to Valley of the Rogue State Park, one ODOT litter crew of 2-3 employees work state highways daily. Additionally, ODOT contracts with Jackson County Corrections crews daily to work along I-5, picking up trash that includes hazardous waste like needles, urine bottles and human waste. Stone said the trash multiplies quickly, especially when people fail to ensure their loads are secure. Anything not tied down can become roadside trash. “We see a lot of boxes, a lot of cups, Styrofoam, plastics, tarps, and fast food containers,” said Stone. The trash catches the attention of visitors to the Rogue Valley. “Our guests notice the trash along the interstate and the north Medford exit as they’re driving to stay with us,” said Rogue Regency Inn Manager Bruce Hoevet. “They comment on the arear’s look. When they come back through, say after a week, and it isn’t picked up, they are telling us they’ll go somewhere else.”