Communities, Front Page, Oakridge/Westfir

Being Firesafe: Firewise yard debris disposal program in Oakridge

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The site at the Oakridge Industrial Park is a boon to many residents unable to dispose of unsafe flammable brush and other woody debris from their property. Guen DiGioia photo

Have wintertime tree trimmings been just sitting on your property? Don’t have the means to drop it off yourself?

By GUEN DIGIOIA/For The Herald  —  For six weeks only the Southern Willamette Forest Collaborative (SWFC) will offer extra yard debris drop-off days Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. For six Fridays only, between March 25th and April 29th, Inbound LLC will pick up residential debris for the elderly, disabled, or low-income.

Residents line up to drop off cuttings that would otherwise be tinder should fire strike our area. Guen DiGioia photo

This event builds on the monthly “First Saturday” debris drop-off at the Oakridge Industrial Park. The same $15 permit available from the City of Oakridge is required. Please note weekday debris drop-offs and pick-ups are by appointment only, call 541-782-3422 to schedule.

You may be asking, “how did this 6-week event come about?”

This funding comes from a SWFC Coalitions & Collaboratives, Action, Implementation, Mitigation (AIM) grant for Oakridge Firewise Capacity Building. $4000 was allocated to rent a tub-grinder to off-set yard debris grinding costs for the City of Oakridge. Renting a tub grinder isn’t cheap; after the 2019 “snow-pocalypse” a tub grinder that came from Portland cost $8000. Since 2020, yard debris from the City’s “first Friday” yard debris program has been growing the pile.

Guen DiGioia photo

This year, the City’s public works manager says the pile is one-third of the size needed to justify renting a grinder. The AIM grantees allowed SWFC to reallocate the funds to off-set debris pick-up throughout the Oakridge/Westfir community. This six week event will help homes challenged by brush hauling to the Oakridge Industrial Park while increasing Firewise preparedness into the future!

Guen DiGioia is an Oregon State alumnus with her master’s in sustainable forest management with a minor in statistics. She grew up here in Oakridge, Oregon, and is currently the residential upgrade and smoke outreach coordinator for Oakridge Air.

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