City of Oakland and Community Leaders Launch “Oaktown PROUD” Action Campaign to Combat Illegal Dumping

Date Posted: January 14th, 2020 @ 12:38 PM
Last Updated: January 14th, 2020 @ 12:46 PM

Oaktown PROUD Logo

News from: Oakland Public Works

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 14, 2020

City of Oakland and Community Leaders Launch “Oaktown PROUD” Action Campaign to Combat Illegal Dumping

Campaign introduces new educational and enforcement programs, and emphasizes the essential roles of community leadership and partnership with local government

Oakland, CA –The City of Oakland and community leaders from across the city announced Tuesday the launch of the Oaktown PROUD campaign to reduce illegal dumping in Oakland, rolling out new services long advocated-for by community groups.

Oaktown PROUD is a campaign by and for Oaklanders, to reduce illegal dumping and improve neighborhoods. As the name suggests, Oaktown PROUD seeks to encourage and promote community pride and volunteerism. The campaign name contains an urgent call to action for all Oaklanders to “Prevent & Report Our Unlawful Dumping.” The Oaktown PROUD campaign provides one-stop access to participating in the City of Oakland’s Three E’s strategy to reduce illegal dumping – a strategy that organizes City and community efforts into three focus areas: Education, Eradication and Enforcement.

The campaign was launched Tuesday at San Antonio Park. On hand for the rollout were leaders from both the City and the community, emphasizing the need for true government-community partnership to tackle this challenging issue. New and expanded City services featured:

  • The Oaktown PROUD Student Ambassador program, a pilot effort educating and empowering young Oaklanders to make a difference and become advocates in their own homes and communities, helping raise awareness of important resources and services to help Oaklanders dispose of unwanted materials affordably and safely. Oakland High School and Skyline High School participated in the pilot, which is projected to expand in 2020.
  • The Environmental Enforcement Officers unit, a newly-formed team of civilian investigators who inspect heavy dumping sites, contact suspected dumpers, encourage them to abate blight using available services, and when necessary, refer cases for legal action.
  • Expansion of the Garbage Blitz Crews, building on a successful three-month 2019 pilot that assigned City cleanup crews to proactively pick up illegal dumping in known hot spots. Preliminary data from the pilot suggested that over time, routinely-cleaned streets saw less-frequent new dumping. The Mayor and City Council dedicated significant additional resources to expanding this pilot, and currently three permanent crews are conducting proactive pickups among four regions that cover all of Oakland. Funding for a fourth crew was approved in the FY 2020-21 Budget.

“Oaklanders deserve a home to be proud of, and when we work together that’s exactly what we build,” Mayor Libby Schaaf said. “Our community has told us loud and clear that they will not stand by while our streets and sidewalks are made dirtier and less safe by illegal dumping. This is a public health issue, a public safety issue, and an equity issue – and that means it’s time for all hands on deck. I’m proud of the City’s growing commitments and services, but even more I am humbled and inspired by the determination of our residents to take action and be part of the solution.”

“When someone asks the question, ‘Why do you to pick up litter when people continue to throw it down,’ the answer is simple: I pick up litter because people continue to throw it down. I feel like my neighborhood and my home are my castle,” said Mary Forte, a volunteer neighborhood coordinator with the City’s Adopt a Spot program. “Each one of us has a responsibility to Keep Oakland Clean and Beautiful. Get involved now in your neighborhood, keep it clean in front of your house, encourage your neighbors to do the same, organize your neighbors and adopt your block. And sign up for a clean-up event in your neighborhood for the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service on Jan. 20th!”

“City enforcement is a last resort – we can’t punish our way out of a problem that starts with neighbors in need, and community members who lack access or resources to dispose of their trash and unwanted items need our compassion, education and support,” said Dr. Ida Oberman, executive director of Community School for Creative Education and a member of The East Oakland Congress of Neighborhoods and board member of Faith in Action East Bay. “And after all, the power for change is in our own hands. We as neighbors need to hold each other accountable – we can self-enforce cleaner communities and come together to help one another.”

The Oaktown PROUD campaign rollout will grow over the next several months, and will be implemented in partnership with City Council offices, neighborhood advocates, community-based organizations, and businesses. The campaign will highlight several important strategies to reduce illegal dumping citywide, including: proper waste disposal and how to report illegal dumping, and volunteerism through participation in the City of Oakland Adopt a Spot Program which hosts clean up and beautification events in public spaces throughout Oakland, and supports community-led events by providing logistical support, offering tools and materials, and pick-up coordination.

More information about Oaktown PROUD can be found at www.oaktownproud.com.

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Media Contact

Sean Maher

Public Information Officer

smaher@oaklandca.gov

(510) 238-6358 desk

(510) 473-2610 cell