Four large reader boards, positioned at main entrances to Steilacoom, are in place to remind residents about an upcoming Town Tradition.
Spring Clean up.
Set for the final weekend of April, the Town Clean-up is a big local tradition for the Town on the Sound. It’s not quite as old as the town that marks its 160th anniversary this year—yes! It’s actually been 10 years since the 2004 Sesquicentennial!
(It’s also the 125th anniversary of Washington’s statehood—set for Nov. 11, 2014—but that’s another topic).
Getting back to the subject at hand: the reader board messages have been displayed for a few weeks—to give residents a gentle reminder that it’s time to sort through all that stuff stored in the garage. The current edition of Around Town provides more details.
Town recycling guru Terry Huber recalls the Town attempted its first event in 1986-87. Large dumpsters were placed near the Public Safety lot, and people from around the area took advantage, not only to dump unwanted items, but also to scavenge things they might want.
By the following week, it was a mess.
It was a good idea, but the process definitely needed to be refined.
After listening to citizen input from residents such as Durive Harris and Lenny Butler, the following year, the clean up was shortened to three days. Only Town Residents could participate from then on.
Two sites operated: one to collect recyclables, the other for yard waste.
Because the Town now contracts with LeMay Enterprises to remove yard waste, that aspect of the clean up has gone away.
Instead of having about 1,500 people participate, the usual number now is 600, according to Huber. For details about what is/is not allowed please visit the Town’s April edition of Around Town. www.townofsteilacoom.org
Although the clean-up once was held at the old Diggs Street Public Works site, it’s been held annually at the Roe Street site, for two days only: Saturday and Sunday.
Staffed by community volunteers as well as town staff, residents load their cars, according to the “best practices” advice recommended, and drive to the collection point at the Public Works yard. Once there, metals, Goodwill items, and cardboard are unloaded and placed in huge collection bins.
Danny Lopez, a long-time volunteer, along with Tim Dodsworth, are busy now coordinating their lists of helpers for this year’s event.
Getting the “call” is a little like being recruited to help with other town traditions such as the Apple Squeeze, the Fourth of July, or the Salmon Bake.
“It’s just what we do here in Steilacoom,” Lopez says.
On the “weekend,” it’s like a reunion, and you work with others that you may not have seen for a year! There are usually nine volunteers, for three shifts each day (from 9-5). Add to that the Boy Scouts and their adult supervisors who oversee the cardboard recycling, plus high school students accruing Community Service hours, as well as Town staff, backhoe operators, Life Center volunteers and LeMay supervisors/drivers.
During the years Volunteers have included:
Danny Lopez—Volunteer Recruiter Extraordinaire; the Tinsley Clan (Carol, Bonnie, Mark, Paul, Jonathon, Molly, Josh and Melanie; The Dodsworths—“Last shift on Saturday Regulars” (Mary and Tim); as well as Lenny Butler and Bill Tiglao, Pam and Steve Marin, Chris and Brian Anthony, and Teri and Mike Litt.
Others include Paul and Bettina Evans, The Tchobanoffs, Bill Boyle, Gordy Winslow, George Rybolt, Dru McDougal, Dave Hall, Don Butler, John Anderson, Jonathon Harris, Carol and Myron Labrie, Donald and Pauline Monk, Gerry Evanson, Milt Davidson and Sally Jacky, Janis Larsen, Stu Perry, Steve Stovall, Marion Smith, Bruce Judson, Greta Green, Alex Denizard, Wolf Fletter, Patty O’Grady, Al Klingbiel, Dick Ballew and his daughter, Ralph Micone and Annette Zweig.
Also Joe Irvin, James Allison, Ruthie Neilen, Jan and Ron Lucas, Sandy Eggebroten, Art Herstrom, Lena and Tony Forsyth, Janda and Bob Volkmer, Wayne Kohler, Anna Ziegler, Roger Thorsen, Bob Anderson, Ham Rideout, Tim Sheldon, Dan French and Bud Schwab.
“As you can see, the list is quite long, and I am sure I have left out some names that probably need to be included. Such is my concern about listing them,” Huber mused.
Although sorting through the salvage for something with potential value is no longer done, the Volunteers occasionally find a rare treasure.
For Lopez, one year, he says, he found a pogo stick; then there was also a basketball backboard and hoop—he was in 7th heaven!
So…get your materials ready for Recycling…and head to the Public Works site on April 26-27 for this spring tradition.
Just for the record, Huber adds that since the Clean-Up began: 18,000 vehicles have been unloaded, six million pounds of waste/recyclable materials (25-30 percent on average is recycled) has been collected, more than 800 – 40-yard dumpsters have been filled, and a total of more than 4,000 volunteers, vendors and town staff members have been coordinated and supervised.