We were notified by our hauler, waste management, that they expect to catch up on garbage collection this week. So put your garbage out on your regular day, including the garbage saved from the weeks the haulers missed.
Monthly archives for December, 2008
In December those of us in Renton City Hall compiled and distributed a list of public works projects that we feel are ready-to-go if the state can get access to Barack Obama’s proposed economic stimulus funds.
The project list includes a variety of items, from those projects that would keep a dozen people busy all the way up to super projects that would give work to thousands. Everything from sidewalk repairs to a new I-405/I-167 Connection. Each project has been planned, gone through preliminary design, has political backing, and is ready for construction funding.
We are well positioned if this money becomes available. The next step is to work with our representatives in Congress and in the State Capitol to make sure everyone knows we are ready and eager to put people to work right away if money is available to us. Here is an article from the Auburn Reporter on this topic with some more of the details.
White collar crime is certainly the most profitable. A Bank robber could never amass even a million dollars without having the FBI hot on his trail. (They typically net $20,000 to $100,000 per robbery, with about an 80 percent chance of getting caught). But this Fry’s executive managed to steal $65,000,000 with little suspicion. I don’t know how accountants would not have picked up on it. But good grief! 2008 appeared to be a year of white collar crime.
Council President Marcie Palmer spent time down at the city shops today to staff the phone and respond to callers. She sent a followup email about how things were going, and I’ve attached it below.
I also did some checking on my own today, in response to a Seattle Times article about the controversy surrounding the City of Seattle decision to not use any salt to thaw the streets. I found out that here in Renton we DO use de-icer in some areas, but it is not salt. It will not corrode your cars the way salt will. But it is a sticky substance which you may have to scrub off your fenders after the snow is gone, even though it will not cause any damage.
(I thought Seattle’s concern that the salt would get into Puget Sound sounded strange. I would think that the amount we are talking about would not affect the salinity of a such a vast body of salt water. But I haven’t really studied it)
Here is Marcie’s latest update:
Gregg & Peter-
You must be so proud of your very hard-working Staff. I sure am!
As you know, I spent about 3 hours at the Shops, after having about a half hour tour of streets which had been phoned in as needing City attention. First, not only were all the major streets and arterials looking good, many neighborhood streets/”secondary” streets had been sanded this morning as well.
At the Shops, the calls had calmed down considerably by the time I got there to be a backup and take angry callers, so I helped wrap gifts for the adopted families and listened (& learned!) to what was going on. Gosh the Staff looked weary but they were in good spirits and ready for whatever the next 24-48 hours bring.
While the rest of us are worrying about last minute shopping, wrapping gifts, cooking, cleaning, how to get to/from Renton during the next couple of Christmas days, Staff was checking in for their next assignment, verifying who was going to be where & then either heading back out on the streets or heading home before reporting back in 12 hours. Yet the majority of calls this morning were from residents complaining the City had plowed their street and now there was snow blocking their driveway. There were also some folks with medical needs (i.e., in need of kidney dialysis, medication, etc.) and the Shop Staff was coordinating with Emergency Services & Human Services to get help to them.
The City of Renton has a higher standard in dealing with snow & ice, and our residents may not fully appreciate that high level of service compared to other municipalieties. When folks complain the City isn’t doing enough, they are unrealistic and/or unaware of what a good job we are doing. While it may not be perfect for some people, overall it seems residents were appreciative of the hard work and there were a number of those kind of calls as well.
To all Staff in ALL departments, your dedication and hard work is very much appreciated. I couldn’t be prouder to work alongside you. Thanks for letting me get a close-up glimpse of what goes on at the City Maintence Shops & on the streets during this kind of event. It would be my pleasure to help again, in any way, & I’d love to “ride along” to help write down the needed info. Hopefully in the next 3 years of my term I’ll have additional opportunities to experience what every department is really like. With the budget tight, having some first-hand knowledge at the “street or counter level” will help Council make increasingly tough decisions that truly are the best for the Citizens and Businesses of Renton.
Here’s wishing you a Happy Holiday Season, whether you get to spend it with family & friends or have to work. Thanks again!
(PS- FYI, I started doing this on City email, but got timed out before I could hit send and lost it all. Since I really wanted to get this out, I resorted to my home email.)
From: Gregg A. Zimmerman
Sent: Tuesday, December 23, 2008 12:03 PM
To: Denis Law; Jay B Covington; Julia Medzegian; April Alexander
Cc: Michael Stenhouse; George Stahl; Alexander Pietsch; Jennifer Davis Hayes; Suzanne Dale Estey; David Daniels; Mark Peterson; Timothy L Troxel; Kent M Curry; Paul Cline; Preeti Shridhar; Kelley Balcomb-Bartok
Subject: Water Main Break 324 Main Ave.
Well, the other thing that happens besides snow and ice during extended cold snaps is we get some broken water mains. We have had a few, the latest is located at 324 Main Ave., near Pounders. The water crew is responding now (12:00 noon). Unfortunately we will have to close shut-off valves that are going to put some downtown customers out of water for several hours while we accomplish the repair. The ice on the roadway complicates finding the location of the breakage, but the crews will try to get this done as soon as possible. Unfortunately the weather conditions continue to find new ways to be unfriendly to the region’s businesses.
Our road crews are working round-the-clock to keep traffic moving. Marcie Palmer sent me some details of her chat with Pat Zellnar, the manager in charge.
We should be very grateful to these dedicated workers, putting in so much overtime in such harsh conditions.
Here is Marcie’s note:
————– Forwarded Message: ————–
From: Marcie Palmer
To: Randy Corman
Subject: Renton road crews working around the clock & dealing now with Resident complaints
Date: Tue, 23 Dec 2008 07:31:36 +0000
Our Renton Staff has been working around the clock in 12-hour shifts non-stop since the snow began Sat. Dec. 13th. I called the City Shops (425-430-7400) about 6:30 PM to see how everyone was doing. Pat Zellnar (The Boss!!!) answered the phone. He was getting ready for a shift change, as crews were beginning to report in. According to him, in the 10 days since the snow started, the City of Renton has been working on major arterials, bus routes, and dangerous hills to keep up with the ever changing conditions. The City of Renton now has apx. 300 miles of streets. Pat said we’ve used over 1400 TONS (!!!) of sand, and he is running low. He found a source in Ravensdale for tomorrow. You got the email as to the map of routes the snow plows/sanders are designated to prioritize & it’s on the City website.
As a Human Interest story, Pat said altho his crew is dedicated to maintaining the City Standard throughout the Holidays, including Christmas Eve Evening and Day, his crew is getting tired, some getting sick, some hurt, but ready to go out on the next 12-hour stint. His concern is the phone calls they are now receiving with “Resident Anger” at this point, as people are tired of the snow, inconvienence, and looking to blame “someone”. Pat said they are now getting very angry resident calls demanding service.
I am going to go up to the shops in the morning and answer some of those calls. Because I believe in the best Public Safety service the City of Renton can offer, I do NOT drive in the snow (yes, I’m the one all you “good” snow drivers are afraid of…). Pat said he’d send someone to pick me up if I was serious, and I told him I’d walk up to the Kennydale 7-11 to catch the ride. My next door neighbor (Julie Wasson) is sending a crock pot of hot soup to encourage our hard-working Staff.
Maybe you can post this on your blog to let folks know the City is working so hard during this amazing Holiday Storm. Our City Council is so proud of the amazing efforts all our Staff are putting out through this ongoing storm.
I may call you while I’m up at the Shops to tell you whats happening; I’ll take my camera so we can share some photos.
Marcie (Palmer—Renton City Council President)
We have been cc’d on at least one email in which residents have complained about the missed garbage pick-ups. I find them frustrating as well, particularly since no one seems to know whether they are supposed to be dragging one or two weeks worth or garbage across an icy driveway to the curb or not, and risking having it sit there. I’m going to put my garbage out tonight, in the hopes of pickup tomorrow. The email below is the only information I have on the topic.
On Mon, Dec 22, 2008 at 2:06 PM, kentmeridianseatacdisposal
To our valued customers,
Inclement weather conditions have resulted in our inability to collect all garbage, recycling and yard waste in many of our service areas. All garbage, recycling, and yard waste collection on Monday, 12/22/08 was suspended as well as our customer service office.
We apologize for any inconvenience you have experienced as a result of these
We will be collecting doubles on your next scheduled collection day for any
services missed. If your collection was not serviced last week as a result of the inclement
weather, we will be collecting triple your service level on your next scheduled
collection day. Extra garbage will be collected in 32 gallon garbage bags,
extra recycling in boxes or paper bags, and extra yard waste in boxes or kraft
paper bags. (Extras for all services will be collected in 32 gallon customer
owned cans, labeled with contents as well).
Please contact our Customer Service Department at email@example.com should you have any questions or concerns. Thank you for choosing Allied Waste Services.
Allied Waste Services
Customer Service Department
22010 76th Ave South
Kent, WA 98032
The popular winter-time ice arena in Bellevue averted a near tragedy yesterday, when employees and firefighters quickly rescued 10 people trapped under the failed roof tent. The snow load exceeded the capacity of the roof structure, and the whole thing failed in the blink of an eye. While a fabric tent collapsing may not sound super dangerous, it’s easy to underestimate the tonnage of snow involved, the hazard caused by the metal support stuctures, and the electrical hazzard resulting from the lights and sound system plunging to the ice.
Fortuanatly, there were only minor injuries. I’m sure there we be an analysis to determine whether the tent supplier included proper instructions for snow clearing or not, and whether the users paid attention to the growing hazard. It seems obvious, at least in hindsight, that there should be some engineering which gives the user an idea of when to clean the tent roof or clear out if the tent was really designed for winter use.
I’m really glad there were not any serious injuries.
This is a great reminder about the hazards caused by overburdened roofs. Back in engineering school, we were given a great deal of education about how roof loads can quickly accelerate in bad weather due to accumulations of snow and ice, frozen drainage systems, and general “ponding” of water. This “ponding” phenomena remains one of the most common and most dangerous roof failure modes. It occurs on flat or nearly flat roofs, when obstructions like leaves or ice reduce the normal drain paths for water. The weight of the accumulated water on the roof will then “deflect” the structure, causing support timbers to bow under the weight, and creating more opportunity for ponding. The more the pond grows, the more the boards deflect, and the more water the roof will contain. Many people have seen this mechanism where they have tried to string a tarp up over a picnic table while camping, only to see the whole thing collect water. “Ponding” represents an engineering instability, in that the more it occurs, the more likely it is to get worse. The only protection is the keep the drains open, inspect the roofs frequently, and be extremely aware of how things are holding up when there is any kind of load on the roof. So, if we get more snow, and when the inevitable rain comes, be very aware of the conditions of your low-pitch roofs. Even if conditions are too dangerous for you to clear your roof, you can still make sure loved ones are not sleeping or spending large amounts of time under anything suspect.
If you are concerned that your roof is not holding up, and you need advice, the city building department can give you some recommendations.