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Dump your junk for free

Spring cleaning time is at hand.

Oak Harbor is once again offering residents the chance to dump junk for free during the annual “City Wide Clean Up” event from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 12. It’s one of the most popular events the city offers, but this year there’s a few new wrinkles in the program.

The city is accepting yard waste, recyclables, furniture, mattresses, lawn mowers and other large, hard-to-dispose of items at the municipal shop north of the city at 1400 NE Sixteenth Avenue.

The city will NOT accept tires, refrigerators, freezers, air conditioners, propane bottles, treated or painted wood, regular household or commercial garbage.

Household hazardous waste, like chemicals and paint, can be disposed of for free at either the Island County - Oak Harbor Transfer Station, on Oak Harbor Road, or the Island County-Coupeville Transfer Station on Highway 20. Remember not to mix chemicals.

Only Oak Harbor residents are eligible. Folks who want to dump their junk have to either show a driver’s license with their city address or a current city utility bill. Only one car or pickup load per city utility billing address will be allowed.

Councilwoman Sheilah Crider, who’s on the cleanup committee, said the purpose of the event is to encourage residents to tidy their property, especially before the Holland Happening celebration. Also, she said cleaning rubbish out of yards will help with the city’s rodent problem.

“This is a nice place to live and we want to keep it that way,” she said. She said city public works employees help local “shut-ins” tidy up by going out before the event and picking up their outdoor rubbish.

Island County also encourages the event over the years by charging the city only half the regular rate for all the garbage collected on the day. Oak Harbor contracts with the county for trash disposal. The idea is that offering people a way to get rid of big junk for free means they are less likely to dump it on county roadsides.

While the event has caused long lines and traffic back-ups in years past, Crider said this year’s program should go much smoother. The public works department has changed the set-up so more people can be dumping trash at the same time.

Also, public works requests that people load their vehicles so they can unload recyclables first, yard waste second, then garbage, and large items — like that stained futon in the garage — last.

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