City first in state to launch mobile app for garbage service and recycling (Photo)
GRESHAM, Ore. - Getting the garbage out on time - and knowing what to put in that blue roll cart - just got easier. The City of Gresham today launches GoCart!, a free garbage and recycling reminder tool that sends collection day information and recycling tips to your smartphone or email box.
Gresham is the first city in Oregon to offer this mobile tool to help residents reduce, reuse and recycle. GoCart! is free. Residents who sign up before Jan. 1 will be entered into a drawing to win a year of free recycling and garbage service.
"Calls about collection days and haulers, and what can be recycled at the curb, are the most common ones that come into our office," said Dan Blue, manager of the City's Recycling and Solid Waste Division. "GoCart! makes it a lot easier to get that information - it goes right to your home or your pocket every week. This app is a great way to put technology to work for residents."
Here's how it works:
Visit GreshamOregon.gov/GoCart. Enter your home address. A screen will pop up giving you the name of your hauler, and you can push a button to create a weekly reminder for your garbage, recycling and yard debris pickup day. You also choose how and when you wish to receive the reminder - by home telephone, mobile phone, or email. Tips about recycling - what to put in, what to leave out - are also sent via GoCart! message.
GoCart! users can access a customized monthly calendar for their pickup days. The calendar can be accessed anytime on the City website.
The GoCart! technology is created by ReCollect, a Canadian company that has designed solid waste apps used by 30 other U.S. cities, including Vancouver and Clark County, Wash., who report high usage and favorable reviews. Gresham officials hope GoCart! not only provides convenience but also improves recycling rates - which reduces City costs and keeps customer rates low.
GoCart! is the third mobile app launched by the City to better engage residents through technology. Other apps serve small businesses and industrial site selectors. In addition, the City last month partnered with Nextdoor, the private social networking tool for neighborhoods, to create a new way to quickly get important news out to residents online.
Gresham firefighters contain two-alarm blaze at Friends of Children site - 09/12/14
GRESHAM, Ore. - Firefighters put out a two-alarm blaze that threatened the future East County site of Friends of the Children, the Portland nonprofit that provides long-term, professional mentoring to children and teens in need.
Gresham firefighters were called at 5:15 p.m. to the site, the former Police Activities League building located at 424 NE 172nd Ave. off Glisan in the Rockwood neighborhood of Gresham. A substantial fire was blazing, and about 40 firefighters from Gresham and Portland moved quickly to put it out. Gresham Interim Fire Chief Greg Matthews said the fire was recalled at 5:49 p.m.
The cause of the fire is not known at this time. However, Matthews said witnesses saw several youth run from the fire when it began in a rubble pile near the building. Gresham fire investigators and investigators from the Gresham Police Department are working on the case.
Firefighters were able to protect and save the gymnasium, which Friends of the Children prepares to remodel to create its first East County facility. Partial demolition of the building began this week by a private contractor. Friends of the Children is expanding to better serve children and teens in East County, where need for the program is growing. The nonprofit is currently raising $5 million to fund the project, and plans a family celebration at the site tomorrow, Saturday, Sept. 13, from 12 to 3 p.m., at the adjoining Pat Pfeifer Park to kick off the construction.
Megan Lewis, director of development and marketing for Friends of the Children, said tomorrow's celebration will be held as planned, and gave thanks to firefighters for containing the fire and saving the gym.
The City of Gresham owns the property, and has given Friends of the Children a 99-year lease for $1 per year as a way to support children and families and help revitalize the Rockwood neighborhood. Ground for the new building, designed with input from youth, is scheduled to be broken in early 2015. It is scheduled to open in fall 2015.
Gresham rolls up its sleeves for first citywide day of service - 09/08/14
GRESHAM, Ore. - The City of Gresham will hold its first community-wide volunteer day, the Green & Clean Day of Service, to clean up trails, roadsides and parks on Saturday, Sept. 13, from 9 a.m. to noon. A celebration and ice cream social for volunteers will follow from noon to 2 p.m. at the downtown Arts Plaza.
The City is tapping into Gresham's many active community organizations to organize hundreds of pre-registered volunteers to power clean-up and beautification projects across the city.
Green & Clean projects include:
* Gresham-Fairview Trail: Trash pick-up and weeding, raking and general maintenance
* Eastman and Powell Roadside Pickup: Trash pick-up and general maintenance along the Eastman embankment south of Powell, as well as refreshing planters along Powell through the Gresham Butte wetlands
* Downtown Gresham and Rockwood: Stormdrain marking to protect watersheds
* Nadaka Nature Park and Tsuru Island Japanese Garden: Clean-up and beautification of Nadaka in Rockwood, and Tsuru Island in Main City Park
Gresham City Council members will work side-by-side with residents on Green & Clean projects and visit sites throughout the morning.
Councilor Jerry Hinton, who championed Green & Clean with guidance and support from the City's Citizen Involvement Committee, the Council, and the City's Office of Neighborhoods and Community Engagement, said the service day takes advantage of Gresham's strong history of volunteerism in its business, faith and non-profit communities.
"Serving others helps us find balance in our lives," said Hinton, who will offer brief remarks on the meaning of service at the event-capping celebration on the Arts Plaza. "Serving our community as families helps us raise a new generation respectful of others."
Aaron Abrams, manager of Gresham's Office of Neighborhoods and Community Engagement, has worked closely with volunteer groups, as well as co-sponsor Portland General Electric, for weeks to coordinate Green & Clean. With about 940 acres of open space, 300 acres of City parks and a 10-mile network of trails in Gresham, Abrams said it made sense to focus citizen efforts on these unique community assets, and hopes the event is the start of a lasting tradition.
"Volunteering for the Green & Clean event is not only a great way to help our city, it also helps to build bonds between people that lead to stronger and safer neighborhoods," Abrams said.
After the clean-up, a community celebration and ice cream social will be held from noon to 2 p.m. on the downtown Arts Plaza, located at 401 N.E. Second St. The celebration will feature games, music, and free ice cream for service day volunteers as part of the service day. The Children's Fountain will be bubbling, and food trucks will be selling snacks. Representatives from the City's Rise, Advance, Dream (RAD) Gresham initiative will be on hand to gather game-changing ideas for Gresham's future.
For more information on Green & Clean, visit GreshamOregon.gov/GreenandClean
For more information on RAD Gresham, visit GreshamOregon.gov/RAD.
3 Alarm Fire Displaces Tenants from 6 Apartments (Photo)
Gresham Fire and Emergency Services deployed every resource available to an apartment fire early this morning to include firefighters from Portland Fire as well as Fire Corps volunteers in response to an apartment fire at 621 NE Kane Drive, directly across from Gresham Fire Station 72.
The fire, initially dispatched at 0343 hours, was quickly upgraded to a second alarm fire as
the crew from Station 72 observed columns of smoke, heavy fire and a mass of people
gathered in the parking lot of the six unit complex. At 0402, with fire now venting
through the roof and three apartments fully involved, a third alarm was called. The fire
was held to three of the six units and a recall was made at 0534 hours.
Resources totaled over 50 fire service personnel to bring the fire under control and extinguish the blaze.
The fire remains under investigation at this time. No injuries were reported on scene
and the American Red Cross responded and offered assistance to the tenants of all six
apartments. Three of the six units appear to be a total loss while the other three are
being assessed for habitability.
On a lighter note, while remaining on scene after the fire had been recalled, firefighters
were told of a missing Chihuahua. It seemed highly doubtful that the search would have
positive results given the conditions that existed in that particular unit hours earlier.
However, despite being subjected to the thick black smoke, extreme heat, and huge
volume of fire, the little black and white long haired Chihuahua named "Oreo" was
found under a bed against a wall, nervous but happy to see Firefighter Craig O'Meara,
who gingerly scooped up his new little friend and walked him out to his "Mama"
providing her with a much needed positive light in the midst of a dismal day. Oreo was
treated on scene with a bit of oxygen and encouraged to see his veterinarian.
In September, roll with the City of Gresham
GRESHAM, Ore. - This month, it's all about the bike.
The City of Gresham, with 117 miles of bike lanes and nearly 5 miles of trails, is hosting its annual Transportation Safety Fair on Saturday, Sept. 27, from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. - right in historic downtown following the Teddy Bear Parade.
Held on the Arts Plaza, located at 401 N.E. Second St., the fair will feature:
* A bike helmet giveaway sponsored by the Oregon Nurses Association
* Expert bike helmet fitting
* Bicycle safety checks from trained mechanics
* Bicycle safety tips for kids and adults
* Bike rodeo with a variety of two-wheeled challenges
* Group ride through Main City Park and along the Springwater and Gresham-Fairview trails, starting at 1 p.m. on the Arts Plaza
The event is free and open to the public, and all services are free of charge.
Participants young and old are encouraged to bring their bike and helmet for safety checks. Youth are especially encouraged to attend. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people aged 5 to 24 make up about 60 percent of all bike-related emergency room visits in the United States each year.
The City's Transportation Planning Division sponsors the Transportation Safety Fair with support from Boy Scout and Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA) volunteers.
In addition, the City is supporting the BTA's annual Bike Commute Challenge. The team competition pits workplace against workplace to see which business, bike shop, non-profit organization or public agency can log the most commuting miles by cycle during the month of September.
Last year, 10,555 Oregon riders from 1,290 workplaces rode a whopping 1.1 million miles. Participants get bike shop discounts and prizes as well as bragging rights. Over the years, the City has formed several teams to compete in the Commute Challenge.
To register your workplace, or learn more about the BTA Bike Commute Challenge, visit bikecommutechallenge.com. For more information on the Transportation Safety Fair, contact Sandra Doubleday at 503-618-2816 or Sandra.Doubleday@GreshamOregon.gov
Neighborhood Enforcement Team starts strong, wins applause (Photo)
Gresham's new Neighborhood Enforcement Team has forged strong parterships with other city departments, including Code Enforcement shown here
GRESHAM, Ore. - In its first three months of operation, the Gresham Police Department's new Neighborhood Enforcement Team had a busy, and effective, start on addressing quality of life issues. Police statistics show that the two-officer team:
* secured 32 abandoned properties to remove squatters or thieves
* made 18 arrests, most for criminal trespassing
* tagged or cleared 17 transient camps
* issued nine traffic citations
* seized five items of stolen property
* boarded up four vacant properties
* helped two apartment managers with problem tenants
This activity is the result of persistent, proactive police work. Officers James Leake and Daniel Estes, who make up the Neighborhood Enforcement Team, spent 50 hours in community meetings, fielded 54 telephone tip line calls, and clocked 2,066 citizen contacts - phone calls, patrol stops, searches, interviews, etc. - between May 1 and Aug. 1, 2014.
"The team is doing an impressive job of meeting their mission - working with residents to improve quality of life and livability in Gresham," said Police Chief Craig Junginger. "At community meetings, people say they're happy with this new detail. The NET is working on issues that matter a lot to residents."
Junginger created the Neighborhood Enforcement Team to respond to an increase in neighborhood complaints about transients, abandoned properties, drug dealing, chronic noise, and other neighborhood issues that don't qualify as emergencies but can have a significant, negative effect on quality of life. Junginger selected Leake and Estes to form the team in order to manage the increase in livability calls - without pulling officers away from emergencies.
Instead of responding to 911 calls, Leake and Estes generate their own leads from tips, patrols and conversations with fellow police officers, non-profit leaders, neighborhood association members, business owners, property managers and City Hall staffers. The team has forged close partnerships with the City's Department of Environmental Services, Code Compliance program, and the City Attorney's Office, and played a role in developing and enforcing a chronic nuisance ordinance, an abandoned property board-up procedure, and an exclusion order and procedure to remove trespassers from City parks and trails.
"In some ways, we're going back to the basics of police work, talking to people on their porches, in the parks, at their businesses," Leake said. "We listen and often work together with residents to solve a problem. What's satisfying is that we're not reacting to an issue and putting a Band-Aid on it. We're getting deep into the community and looking at lasting solutions."
"There's been no shortage of work," Estes said. "And residents appreciate our presence. We've left calls where neighbors walk out of their houses and applaud."
The Gresham Police Department has longstanding special units for gang activity and drug crimes. The Neighborhood Enforcement Team is the latest detail, and was created without hiring new staff, or increasing the police budget. Based on the team's first quarter performance, Junginger said he plans to keep it operating this fiscal year.