Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler Pledges Daily Emptying of Downtown Trash Cans

“This starts by responding to our litter crisis.”

A trash pile in downtown Portland. (Daniel Stindt)

Mayor Ted Wheeler today announced a new trash initiative for downtown Portland: As of Oct. 7, all trash cans are being emptied six days a week.

Wheeler also announced that, beginning Spring 2019, this service will increase to seven days a week for all areas of downtown. The service will be provided by Clean & Safe, the nonprofit managed by the Portland Business Alliance.

Until this week, downtown trash cans had been emptied four days a week. Wheeler says that rate is no longer sufficient.

"We're growing," said Wheeler. "We're on the radar. The bad news is that growth comes with growing pains. And one of the growing pains that comes with growth that we've seen on the streets with the growing amount of litter."

"We know its a problem, and we're on it," he continued.

He says this is just the first in several more announcements to come.

Andrew Hoan, Portland Business Alliance president and CEO, had another announcement to complement the increase trash collection: Starting this week, 100 new trash cans will be placed around the city, with a $150,000 commitment to the project.

The announcement was followed by the unveiling of two kinds of new trash cans, adorned with cartoon images of doughnuts and bicycles.

To follow, Hoan also announced an additional one hundred cans for next spring, with another $150,000 commitment.

According to Wheeler, in the last year 2.6 million pounds of trash and almost 350,000 needles were collected by the city. With the growing population of Portland, this number is expected to increase.

"I am committed to upholding my vision for Portland as the cleanest city in America. I know we can get there," said Wheeler. "This starts by responding to our litter crisis."

Friday, Oct. 12: This post has been updated with new information.

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