New and restored services are both here and on the way for the City of Oakland and the Oakland community to team-up to give neighborhood streets and sidewalks some much-needed spring cleaning. First up: the City’s proactive hot spot cleanups are getting a boost from increased staffing for Oakland Public Works’ (OPW) Garbage Blitz Crews.
Illegal dumping has grown in Oakland for many years – OPW performs more than 30,000 trash pickups annually, almost triple the work performed just ten years ago. City resources to address the issue were significantly cut during the Great Recession, and the impacts were quickly felt as dumping increased. Since then City and regional leaders, community advocates, and OPW services have been steadily working to restore and improve those services.
OAK311 was launched in 2018 to create a simplified service for community members to report dumping and other public maintenance issues. That same year, OPW piloted the Garbage Blitz Crews as a counterbalance – tasking cleanup crews with the work of proactively cleaning up known hot spots rather than responding to community-reported service requests. The initial pilot focused on Council District 6 in East Oakland and produced encouraging results – areas cleaned regularly began to see less new dumping over time.
Since then the City has continued to invest in expanding the Garbage Blitz Crews, and a fourth crew started operating in March, enabling OPW to dedicate one crew to each of the four “zones” the department uses to cover all of Oakland’s geography.
“Oaklanders are getting excited to build back better as we begin to imagine life after the COVID-19 pandemic, and it will take everyone playing their part to create a cleaner, healthier home for all of us,” Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said. “I’m grateful to these incredible crews for their dedication and hard work, and inspired by the community leadership in every neighborhood to volunteer and help make a cleaner Oakland on our own street!
“As we proactively work to keep Oakland clean and beautiful, I am so excited about the launch of the city’s new Garbage Blitz Crews” said Councilmember Treva Reid/ “Thank you to our city leaders, Oakland Public Works, and those involved in funding this growing initiative. I look forward to realizing the full benefit of this much needed resource in District 7 to help clean and restore our streets.”
Among the in-person services suspended in 2020 after the Alameda County shelter-in-place order was the City’s popular Bulky Block Party event series allowing residents to drop of large items for free at a designated monthly site. The City is preparing to make an announcement in the next few weeks on the progress to restore those events.
Additional to the new Garbage Blitz Crew support, Oaklanders can help clean the city by participating in pandemic-safe cleanup efforts as part of Oakland Earth Day – this year reworked as Earth Month, with more information available at https://www.oaklandca.gov/topics/oakland-earth-month-april-2021.
The City asks that community members help identify new or returned hot-spot areas by continuing to report illegal dumping to OAK311, and make full use of available trash services as part of the ongoing Oaktown PROUD community campaign to reduce illegal dumping in Oakland.
We encourage all Oakland residents and businesses to #BeOaktownPROUD by participating in the Oaktown PROUD campaign – by encouraging their neighbors to practice sanitary and safe trash disposal, making sure they have adequate trash service at their homes and places of business, using affordable waste services such as Bulky Pickup Service, and reporting illegal dumping to OAK311 by:
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