Allie Colosky
The Bulletin

Most Central Oregonians need to put their garbage cans out to the curb as early as 10 p.m. the night before their usual collection days starting Thursday, according to multiple garbage collectors.

In Bend, Redmond, Madras and Prineville, service times for garbage collection have been altered because of expected traffic congestion from the influx of people for the solar eclipse on Monday.

Bend Garbage and Recycling started night collection Wednesday and asks customers to have their garbage cans at the curb by 10 p.m. the night before their normal collection day.

Beginning Thursday, Madras residents are advised to place their garbage cans on the street by 10 p.m. the night before their typical service day, with collection times beginning at midnight.

“It’s hard to estimate because it’s not like we’ve done anything quite like this before,” said Melanie Widmer, owner of Madras Sanitary Service.

“We just want to remind people that with these crazy traffic days coming up, they need to put their cans out the night before.”

The collection service has also tried to prepare as much as possible for the eclipse, which is expected to affect the Madras area especially heavily, Widmer said. Extra bins, boxes and containers have been distributed to parks, schools and campsites in Madras to help dispose of garbage generated by visitors.

Madras Sanitary Service handles 800 to 900 tons of garbage in an average summer, and with the influx of an estimated 100,000 people, there is no doubt going to be a surplus in garbage too.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if we doubled in volume,” Widmer said. “It’s hard to estimate.”

Residents are advised to call well in advance if they need to contact the collection service, and if the garbage cans are not placed on the street in time, there won’t be any trucks to return to residential areas.

“Unless it’s a commercial account, people are just going to have to wait until the next week,” Widmer said.

High Country Disposal in Redmond is also changing collection times to help staff navigate the expected traffic congestion. Commercial and residential customers should place their bins out by 10 p.m. the night before their scheduled collection days. Workers’ shifts are scheduled to start at midnight. The traffic is not expected to be as congested in Bend compared to Redmond or Madras, said Susan Baker of High Country Disposal.

“The further north we go, the traffic volume and logistics are more complicated,” Baker said. “But even in Bend, if it trickles down, if we need to be out earlier.”

High Country Disposal has also added collection routes on Saturday and Sunday for commercial accounts.

“We reached out to restaurants, hotels and fast-food places to let them know (about added pick-up routes),” Baker said.

In Prineville, night shift garbage collection started Monday and will continue until Friday, Aug. 25.

“So far things have been going perfectly,” said Anna Moore, Prineville Disposal. “Traffic is already crazy; it was bumper-to-bumper (Wednesday morning) so there is no way our drivers would have been able to get through.”

The public feedback has been very understanding, Moore said, and Prineville Disposal has been working with residential and commercial customers for months, sticking flyers on garbage bins and in bills mailed to homes.

The biggest increase for volume is expected to come from restaurants that have increased their services. Those that gave notice to Prineville Disposal in advance were given a discount, Moore said.

“The only increase we will see is in the restaurants, and we will be hauling boxes from the event, but there’s just no way to know the numbers until all is said and done,” Moore said. “Just be patient with us. We are trying our best.”

— Reporter: 541-617-7829, acolosky@bendbulletin.com

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