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Big Citywide Clean Up Day turnout surprises organizers

The lineup for free garbage disposal during 2019 Citywide Clean Up Day extended from the City Hall parking lot, up 4th Avenue and past the library on Main Street (April 20, 2019). Photo: Mike Hiestand

Ferndale Downtown Association officials say yesterday’s Citywide Clean Up Day turnout was by far the biggest they had seen in 12 years.

Citywide Clean Up Day is an annual event that provides an opportunity for volunteers to help clean up around the downtown area and for residents to take advantage of free document shredding and garbage and metal recycling disposal in large containers located in the City Hall parking lot.

According to Mel Hansen, the response this year, both in volunteers and disposal drop-offs, was way more than anything he could remember after doing the event for 12 years.

Hansen grills hotdogs for the volunteers each year. There were far more volunteers this year as measured by the fact they ate every hot dog he brought. “I typically bring more than I think I need but this year there wasn’t even one leftover for the dog.”

“People started showing up before the 9am start time,” Hansen said. The disposal drop-off line was stopped at 9:30 after the garbage bin had been filled. For the first time in the event’s 12-year history, organizers had to scramble to call in a second container. People waited in line until it arrived. The second bin was filled by 11:30am and people still waiting in line had to be turned away.

Ferndale residents take advantage of free disposal of large items during the 2017 Ferndale Citywide Cleanup Day (May 20, 2017). Photo: My Ferndale News
Containers being filled during the 2017 Ferndale Citywide Clean Up Day (May 20, 2017). Photo: My Ferndale News

Hansen credited great weather and a holiday weekend for the big turnout.

The city donated the City Hall parking lot, Banner Bank sponsored the document shredding service, Sanitary Service Company (SSC) donated the garbage disposal, Northwest Recycling provided metal, electronics and appliance disposal. Rockwood Realty took some items to Goodwill.

Editor’s note: The story about this year’s Citywide Cleanup Day published Thursday was the second most-read story for the week — perhaps a forewarning of the large turnout to follow.

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