Results from the 2012 Yakima Citizen Survey clearly revealed an expectation that the city of Yakima should be more proactively involved in improving the overall appearance of the community. As part of its multi-pronged approach to meeting that expectation, the city will spearhead a series of eight community clean up events beginning on Saturday, March 9 and running through late fall.

The clean ups will rotate between each of the city’s four city council districts. The first clean up on Saturday, March 9 will target District 1, which primarily includes Yakima neighborhoods West of 40th Avenue. A free drop off site will be open from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at 75th Avenue and Mead Avenue. Residents from District 1 can bring unwanted items to the drop off site at any time during those hours.

Additional community clean up days this spring include Saturday, March 30 in District 2 (primarily south of Tieton Drive between 40th Avenue and 1 Street), Saturday, April 13 in District 3 (primarily the northeast and southeast sections of the city), and Saturday, May 4 in District 4 (primarily between 40th Avenue and 1 Street).

Clean up days scheduled for later in the year include Saturday, September 7 in District 1, Saturday, September 28 in District 2, Saturday, October 12 in District 3, and Saturday, November 2 in District 4.

Drop off sites will be available during each clean up event and will operate similar hours to those in place for the March 9 kickoff. Residents who bring items to drop off sites are surged to separate household refuse from yard debris before coming to drop off sites. Recycling bins will also be available to handle paper, cardboard, plastic bottles, and milk jugs. Drop off sites will not accept hazardous materials such as paint and chemicals, but will handle old tires for disposal.

The clean up events are designed to give not just individuals the opportunity to get rid of junk around their houses, but to create a chance for volunteers to step forward as well.

“We hope neighbors will join together to not only clean up their property, but to improve the appearance of nearby alleys, streets, and sidewalks,” said Yakima Refuse Division Code Compliance Officer James Scott. “The clean up events also provide a wonderful opportunity for community groups to donate time and really make a difference in the way Yakima looks.”

Any individuals or groups interested in becoming involved in the Yakima community clean ups should contact Yakima Refuse Code Compliance Officer James Scott at 576-6745.

Other steps the city has taken to improve the community’s appearance include beefing up its graffiti response capabilities, launching a fire and life safety crackdown in the North 1 Street area, and initiating an incentive program to encourage downtown businesses to improve nearby landscaping. Additional efforts are also being planned.