Wednesday, May 22, 2013

City Makes Trashy Compost

Speech to the Grants Pass City Council, 12/5/12.  Video of the meeting is available at:
Honorable Councilors, Manager, and Staff:
          As leaves began falling in early October, I begged you to stop sending our leaves to Jo Gro.   Since then, we’ve been picking up bags of leaves for me and my customers from the curb as often as we can. 
          In many of those bags I found litter.  In one load, a person had dumped ashtrays in two bags, and a dozen or so plastic bottle caps in another.  The butts might have come out of the grinding and composting process black, but the caps would have been broken and spread through the compost.
          I’ve noticed and picked out such trash in your compost that is spread behind the wastewater treatment plant.  It has three sources: people who dump leaves at Jo Gro; bags of leaves from the curbs; and your street sweeper.
          At Southern Oregon Compost some landscape maintenance people were not careful to keep litter out of their leaves, but that problem seems to be getting better as management keeps a closer eye on the dumpers.  You probably get the same problem at Jo Gro from both maintenance workers and residents.
          Your street sweeper also sweeps up the litter along with the leaves.  I’m pretty sure the workers don’t sort out the trash when they dump at Jo Gro.
          It doesn’t even do a good job of cleaning the streets, leaving a lot of small crud, sand, and rocks that would be cleaned much more thoroughly with blowers, especially if residents were encouraged to use leaves for mulch wherever they don’t have pavement or lawn, and therefore would be blowing the crud up on their property.
          It also doesn’t normally sweep sidewalks, but still causes many residents, even on streets where it never goes, to ignore their sidewalk along with the street, allowing their leaves to create a hazard for walkers and bike riders.  But the other day I noticed that, along Brownell next to the wastewater treatment plant, it had run on the sidewalks and neglected the gutter.  A while later, I saw that it had repeatedly been run up on the grass north of the tennis courts in the Reinhart Volunteer Park to pick up the leaves from beneath the maple trees there.  Both incidents were apparently in response to my specific requests to our Assistant Manager to have city workers blow the leaves onto soil and move them from grass to soil.
          The sweeper makes both city workers and residents lazy, and does a bad job of cleaning streets.  Please get rid of it.

Rycke Brown, Natural Gardener       541-955-9040  

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