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City Council mulls changes to spring cleanup program

The West Linn City Council met for a combined special meeting and work session Monday, June 6, and while the special meeting ended within an hour, the work session brought forward a number of discussion topics.

Spring Cleanup Program

West Linn Refuse and Recycling (WLRR), the City’s solid waste and recycling collector, is proposing significant changes to the popular Spring Cleanup Program.

Under the current program, WLRR takes one day every year to pick up excess scraps and waste from residents’ curbsides across the city, free of charge. The program has been in place since 2001, but WLRR says a number of problems have cropped up in recent years.

According to a memo to the City Council from Public Improvement Specialist Dylan Digby, the cost of the program rose from $36,322 in 2008 to $53,191 in 2016. Additionally, WLRR has seen residents from surrounding cities “rent” curb space in West Linn for the cleanup, and scrap collectors have also taken to rummaging through the curbside materials.

WLRR said there have also been issues with prohibited or hazardous wastes being left out for pickup.

To solve the issue, WLRR is proposing a move to a “twice-yearly personalized cleanup collection program,” during which customers will request pickups of their own at any time they want.

“We think it’s going to be more efficient,” WLRR representative Steve Donovan said. He added that the new method would eliminate the scavenging problem, which has grown in recent years as social media spreads the word of West Linn’s cleanup day.

If approved, the new program would begin in 2017, and would remain free of charge. The council on Monday expressed an interest in learning more about costs and potential alternatives.

The council must make a final decision by the end of the year.

Master fees

As West Linn approaches the halfway point of its biennial budget, Chief Financial Officer Richard Seals gave the council an update on the previously approved master fees and charges associated with the budget.

Water, sewer and street maintenance fees are set for a 5 percent increase for 2016-2017, and while the City has weighed a larger double-digit increase in water rates for years, Seals said recent hot summers — and increased water usage — may eliminate the need for that larger increase. Such an increase, once proposed at 18 percent, would have to be approved by voters.

“At this point it’s looking like we won’t need that,” Seals said. “The last three summers have been exceptionally warm, making the water fund look that much better.”

Seals said the City will know more about fee projections in July.

Council schedule

The council’s next special meeting has been rescheduled to June 27. Additionally, an appeal hearing related to the Upper Midhill development has been rescheduled from June 20 to June 28 and, if necessary, June 29.

The council’s full tentative schedule can be viewed at westlinnoregon.gov/sites/default/files/meetingagendas/agendamatrix.pdf.