Metro officials are ready to use new state funding to clean up the greater Portland region.
House Bill 5202, approved by the Oregon Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Kate Brown, will send $10 million to the Metro region for clean-up of public spaces. Metro, the elected regional government in the greater Portland region, regulates and guides the garbage and recycling system in most of Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington counties.
The funding will give Metro even more tools to clean public spaces in the greater Portland region enhancing existing services and providing opportunities to explore new options. Metro’s RID Patrol has already cleaned over 1,400 sites in 2022, collecting an average of 3 tons of trash each day. Metro’s Regional Refresh Fund will continue to be a key mechanism to distribute funds as it focuses on supporting community-led efforts that promote livability and improve equity in garbage and recycling service.
About 75 percent of the funding will be allocated towards efforts strictly focused on cleanup programs. Initial plans include expanding programs that provide resources directly to non-profit and community-based organizations, school districts, public agencies and local governments to increase their capacity for dumped trash clean-up. Metro also plans to work with the Oregon Department of Transportation to increase the number of crews clearing trash dumped on property it maintains and pursuing options for more voluntary disposal options for difficult-to-dispose items like sharps, derelict RVs and boats, and hazardous materials.
The remaining money will be split between mitigating impacts of garbage and recycling issues, and curbing reoccurring problems. This will be seen in installation of sharps boxes, vegetation and signage replacement, graffiti abatement and fencing.
“Over the course of the pandemic, we have seen a significant increase in the amount of illegal dumping and littering, and government has struggled to keep up with the problem,” said Metro Council President Lynn Peterson. “We appreciate the Governor and the state legislature making this influx of funding available to support our efforts in the region.”
The state’s funding authorization requires that the money is used to collect, dispose of and increase capacity for dumped garbage. Metro must ensure the money is not used to move any camps or people experiencing homelessness and that funds are not used to backfill any budget shortfalls.
Metro is looking forward to working with local government partners to accelerate clean-up efforts within the region and find solutions to the concerns raised by community members.