GEEZER TRIBE: A date at the dump

by Linda Shaffer

Yes, it’s true. The Shaffers have finally added a new destination to their short list of places visited in the past two years. As I’m sure most of you will agree, this is a big deal during these peculiar times. The best part of this is that it was close to home, full of different activities and brought back lots of good memories. Ah yes, the dump.

For old times’ sake and because we live in Netarts, we turned onto Ekloff Rd. This was not as we remembered. Our average speed was approximately 7mph as I navigated into and out of pot holes. Some were filled with water and I feared they might be deep enough to swallow us up. These were more like small valleys in the road, or what is left of the road. It should be noted that many others must use this road and not for good purposes. They definitely suffer from a bad case of “dump anticipation” because they are throwing out furniture, appliances, mattresses and all sorts of garbage along the road before they even get close to their destination. Mostly this means that Mr. S and Grover had to hear me rant about these people and their evil ways until the road got better and the subject changed.
On arrival, it was clear that this was not the dump we once knew. Gone are the days of the kindly ‘Dump Lady’ who used to take your money as you came in. She also had a booth at the fair filled with recycled goodies and important found objects. No longer do you back up to a hole in the ground and scoop the contents of your pickup out or dump your garbage cans. In those days, moving garbage around and away from the edges was the job of a very nice man named Don Schlappi. The moment he fired up his giant Caterpillar earth mover, seagulls from all over the Coast joined him because they knew he would soon uncover treasure. And he did. So much so that the gulls followed him around all day and gleefully met each new potential donor at the bank where new goodies would be dropped. Though we paid to get in and it was a little stinky, the dump was a kind of festive place to go and there was always that ‘feel good’ moment when you left a load of stuff behind.
I should also note that Don was a friend and sometimes stopped in Netarts after work for a well-earned adult beverage at about the same time we did. He was teased a lot because his fragrant pickup often collected seagulls even after work. They were lovingly known as “Don’s Chickens.” We still call them that sometimes. This is just one of the legends of the dump. Other stories have to do with partying up there and the folks who went up at night, turned off their vehicle lights and drank beer until they turned the lights back on to watch the rats scurry. I think every dump in the world has a verbal history which includes guns used at night to shoot rats. I can confirm the legend of Mr. S and I taking garbage, a bottle of champagne and two glasses to the dump to celebrate our first anniversary. Though not very romantic, we drank the champagne, laughed a lot and got rid of a bunch of stuff. It was a cheap date.
For several years now we haven’t had a dump at all. That same location is now the home of the Tillamook Transfer Station, a major recycling center operated by Don G. Averill Recycling. It’s true that some counties still have dumps but ours doesn’t. Anything that can be recycled is sorted here and hauled out of the county to locations equipped to handle recyclables and waste materials. On the first Saturday of May we went to see this operation for ourselves because it was a FREE special Household Hazardous Waste Collection day. This is the time to get rid of household chemicals and things like paint, aerosol cans, batteries and lightbulbs so they don’t end up in a landfill.
We had a vehicle filled to the brim with styrofoam which had piled up over a year or so. Of course I had batteries saved up and some aerosol cans. We waited in a long line that snaked up the hill toward a special recycling building while we watched the business of regular paying customers dropping off garbage, appliances, furniture and other waste in the regular lot below. As it turned out, the line moved a lot faster than we expected it would and all our questions were answered by signs placed along the route. We filled out a short form and a nice lady unloaded our vehicle. Grover didn’t even bark and was happy to watch the action around us during the hour and a half or so we spent there. There will be six more events of this kind this year and you can find out when by contacting your local transfer station or City Sanitary Center in Tillamook.
Until we save up another special load, this will probably be our last trip for awhile because we do curbside recycling twice a month and weekly trash collection through City Sanitary. These days it really wouldn’t be much fun to pay almost $20 to go to the Transfer Station and split a bottle of champagne. For starters, there’s no place to park. This place is all business now. Where’s the romance in that? Have a great week my friends.