Marion’s citywide cleanup, which continues through this week, has brought some unusual things to the transfer station in past campaigns, but Bud Druse is hoping there won’t be a repeat of the most unusual deposit to date, a live skunk.
Druse, director of the county transfer station, said the skunk surprised everyone — even the man who brought him in. Unbeknownst to the owner, the skunk had made a nest in a no-longer-used boat.
The owner loaded the boat into the back of his pickup and when the truck stopped inside the transfer station, the skunk jumped out and was walking around the truck.
The first hint that the skunk was there was the odor, Druse said. However, the skunk’s stay inside the transfer station was brief. He hurried out the door to find more agreeable surroundings.
Public works crews began Monday, scurrying here and there to pick up loads of cast-offs as residents clean up houses and yards.
Druse said the first day of the cleanup brought in a sizeable collection.
“There were three loads that came in Monday, containing 13 tons of stuff,” Druse said.
Roger Holter, city administrator, said items can simply be taken to the curb or residents can phone the city for a pickup.
Holter said one resident has arranged to have exercise equipment picked up and another has called for a dryer to be taken.
“They don’t have to sign up,” Holter said. “We do encourage it if they have large items.”
Public works employees drive the streets and scout out piles of stuff on curbs, then log them to return and pick them up.
“Years past they would go up and down every street every day,” Holter said. “That’s just a waste of time.”
For some loads, collectors will use a loader and dump truck, for others, trash trucks, and others yet will be picked up in smaller city pickup trucks.
The city has in the past collected all manner of items, Holter said. One customer wanted railroad ties picked up, Holter said.
“We did have a basketball rim with the concrete still attached,” he said.
Picking up that one required a front-end loader.
“Oddly enough, we had a swing set, fully assembled, with one of those 8-foot satellite dishes attached,” Holter said.
“It’s pretty common to see a variety of materials,” said Marty Fredrickson, utilities supervisor. “We’re seeing a lot of yard waste and tree limbs and leaves. Yesterday we did see a lot of larger things like carpet.”
Fredrickson said major appliances have become less common.
“The scrappers will come through, even from out of town, and they’ll pick up the appliances, so that’s good,” Fredrickson said.
Marion’s citywide cleanup has gone on for decades, Fredrickson said. This year he has six employees assigned to the duty.