Many streets within the City of Auburn could use litter pick up and a little tender loving care. This summer the city plans to start two programs to match streets with the people who love them.
Adopt-a-Road is a litter control program that jurisdictions such as King, Pierce and Thurston counties and the cities of Tacoma and Sammamish use to reduce litter on roads. Volunteers pick up litter along an assigned stretch of road. Generally, the city or county provides the supplies and collects and disposes of the bags. Some jurisdictions post signs to honor the volunteers.
Adopt-a-Spot is the same type of program but on a smaller scale. Volunteers may adopt spots such as a traffic circle, a median strip, or ditch, or parks or playgrounds that the city does not maintain and plant flowers and plants in some places. This program could be expanded to include city-owned areas that are frequent victims of graffiti.
“There a lot of other jurisdictions that have Adopt-a-Road and some have Adopt-a Spot,” said Amber Mund, an engineering aid with Auburn’s Public Works Department who is developing the program. “We are looking at implementing both types wrapped into one.”
Most jurisdictions have a two-year commitment agreement, hold harmless language and basic safety training requirements. The program doesn’t cost the volunteers anything.
“The program will be city wide,” Mund said. “Basically, citizen can find an area they want to clean up. They sign an agreement that specifies they will clean up the area a couple times each year. It’s completely volunteer, so all it will cost volunteers is their time. The city will provide litter bags and signs and will pick up the full bags once the volunteers area done with their activities.”
Mund said that the recently-annexed areas of West and Lea Hill have eight sections of road adopted by volunteers. Recently Auburn’s newest citizens asked if the city had such a program, because if it did, they wanted to continue it.
Most jurisdictions ask for two years of volunteer services and most assign their adopt-a-road volunteers a one mile stretch of road, but that varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.
“Right now we making sure that we have all the paperwork in place and have finalized the documents that volunteers need to sign,” Mund said. “Now it’s a matter of coordinating and working out the details on my end.”
“My research shows it is a very minimal cost to the city. From what I have found, the average cost of the program is $3,000 and $6,000 a year, and that’s mostly in bags used and the costs of disposing of the litter,” Mund said.