In the Fall of 2006 Harve Timeus, a recent retiree observed that the the roads and streams of the Siskiyou National Forest were littered with trash dump sites and abandoned vehicles.
Harve felt a cleanup was needed and he had a plan. The trash and abandoned vehicles needed to be removed if the forest was to retain its image of scenic beauty and prime recreation.
Harve quickly asked Ed Gross to join him in applying for a grant to start the cleanup. Fortunately, the grant was approved and the trash collection began. Following some start-up bumps and jerks, the organized trash cleanup events took off like gangbusters. More volunteers came on-board and the Dogs were up and running.
Fast forward to 2019, some 13 years and nearly 200 trash cleanup events later the Trash Dogs are alive and well and continue their work. Harve and Ed have retired and passed the leadership to new officers. It has been the incredible force of volunteers citizens, Curry Transfer and Recycling, and the Curry County Soil and Water District that have made the hometown operations click and thrive. Without a cent of pay, some 150 very loyal volunteers over the years have keep the operation running smoothly.
Along with the tons of trash, many abandoned vehicles have been salvaged and recycled. The Trash Dogs have often needed help from the Forest Law Enforcement officers and the Curry County Sheriff to certify abandoned vehicles and trash for recycling and disposal.
Over the Dogs' 13 years, the stream of trash has transformed from refrigerators, stoves, deep freezers, tires, batteries and furniture to an increasing abundance of abandoned camp sites, RVs, trucks and cars. The anti-trash signs may deter some trash and abandoned vehicles, but the cause is likely connected to the economic situation we see every day.
Last, you might ask who pays for the disposal and recycling fees for all these years? Ultimately it's the citizens, be it in federal grants or generous donations from local citizens that pay the Trash Dogs for recycle, disposal and mileage fees.
Ed Gross is a member of the Curry County Trash Dogs. He may be reached at 541-661-4381.