By Midge Pierce

Some residents who saved bulk trash for their neighborhood cleanup hit an obstacle last month.

Stringent restrictions on asbestos and a higher level of scrutiny caused several neighborhood groups to cancel their annual April cleanups.

The Hosford Abernethy  Association cancelled as did the joint cleanup between Mt Tabor and North Tabor Neighborhood Associations. Foster Powell and Mt Scott Arleta chose not to have one this year.

“They didn’t cancel, they just decided to wait and see how other neighborhoods navigate the asbestos restrictions this year,” according to Katy Asher with SE Uplift.

Neighborhoods that decided to hold cleanups can be found at seuplift.org/what-we-do/neighborhood-cleanups.

Metro, the primary funder of the community collection event, is more closely scruitinizing loads brought to transfer stations from cleanups in order to keep staff and volunteers away from handling hazardous materials,  according to Asher.

Metro indicated it would impose significant fines if collections from a long list of prohibited materials get into waste drop boxes that go to transfer stations. Lumber with paint, yard debris and other materials people commonly drop off are unacceptable.

Asher emphasized that Metro has always prohibited construction debris and is just trying to keep people safe.

Traditionally, the cleanups are neighborhoods biggest fundraisers supporting fun events like movies in the park and national night out parties.

MTNA Board member Paul Leistner says its the first time in 15 years the Mt Tabor neighborhoods have cancelled. Last year, he says, the MTNA/NTNA cleanup was the largest in inner SE Portland with nearly 300 cars and trucks served.

“We know that many Mt. Tabor and N. Tabor neighbors save up their junk all year with the expectation that they will be able to drop it off at the cleanup.” he said, adding volunteers do not have the inspection and enforcement training needed to exclude prohibited materials.

People who have construction materials to dump can check the Metro link: oregonmetro.gov/tools-living/garbage-and-recycling/garbage-recycling-hazardous-waste-disposal-portland.