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Washington Voices

Trash pickup goes off with a hitch

Thu., Nov. 3, 2011

Some residents say they didn’t get notice in time

Trucks hauled 26.74 tons of garbage out of the East Central neighborhood recently, even though some residents didn’t get a flier announcing the pickup in time to put their trash out.

Three special garbage pickup days were scheduled during the week of Oct. 17, and residents were allowed to put three garbage items weighing no more than 85 pounds each out to the curb for special pickup. But Branden Syrotchen, a PhD student who lives on East Eighth Avenue, said his flier arrived three days after the scheduled pickup date, and that made him think the entire neighborhood missed out.

“My whole neighborhood was disenfranchised of this opportunity,” Syrotchen wrote in an email. “And … money for postage permits, paper and printing was wasted because of this poorly planned venture.”

Syrotchen is certain he did not receive the flier on time.

“The majority of the time I’m home doing homework until 2:30 p.m. I check my mail every day,” he said. “As for the trash pickup, you need to give people a little more time to prepare.”

But judging from the tonnage, the garbage pickup was quite successful, said Jerry Numbers, chair of the East Central Neighborhood Council, which organized the curbside trash pickup.

“We sent out 4,830 flyers,” said Numbers, “and I was able to get a printout of the addresses from the Office of Neighborhood Services.”

Numbers, a longtime neighborhood activist who lives in the historic Dodd House on South Arthur Street, was surprised that he wasn’t on the East Central mailing list.

He then began checking some of the addresses on the 80-page address list and found torn-down homes still on the list.

Numbers said he got two calls from residents who didn’t get the flier. He also heard from a man who has lived in the 100 block of South Haven Street for many years, but never received a flier by mail. He found one on the ground addressed to a neighbor.

“I don’t think it was a huge problem, but the list does need to be updated,” Numbers said.

Numbers is now working with the Neighborhood Services office at City Hall to figure that out.

The fliers are delivered by the U.S. Postal Service, and Jonathan Mallahan, director of Neighborhood Services and Code Enforcement, wrote in an email that they were sent out on Oct. 12 and are usually delivered within two days.

The Office of Neighborhood Services is now working to find out if outdated address lists is a widespread problem.

In the meantime, the city extended its usual deadline for the use of free dump passes to Nov. 9 for the East Central Neighborhood.

“If people got missed by the mailing they can pick up a pass at the East Central Community Center,” said Numbers. “Hopefully that will help at little bit.”

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