Getting rid of old household drugs & paper shredding are big draws; e-waste disposal a surprise hit

DAVID F. ASHTON - During the entire four-hour drug, document, and e-waste collection day, vehicles are lined up, bumper-to-bumper, around the former Southeast Precinct building.
For several years, the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) used to partner with the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), and the Portland Office of Neighborhood Involvement (ONI) Crime Prevention Program, to present "Drug Turn-in" days – most recently at the former Southeast Precinct building on E. Burnside Street.

At their most recent turn-in event a little over a month ago, officials and volunteers worked at a dizzying pace, serving about 1,150 neighbors at the drop-off location.

New this year was on-site electronics recycling, courtesy of the Better Business Bureau and Green Century Recycling. Within the first hour, seven giant totes were filled to overflowing – and discarded items piled up along the west side of the collection area.

"Also that we're now taking in discarded electronics is really going to help clean up our neighborhoods; we often see this stuff dumped at vacant lots and in alleys," commented PPB East Precinct Neighborhood Response Team Sergeant Randy Teig, as watched the gear pile up.

"The popularity of electronics recycling has been a surprise to us all," said ONI Crime Prevention Program specialist Jenni Pullen, commenting that the official tally was 13.2 tons of electronics collected.

"And, it's gratifying to see so many caring Portlanders safely disposing of unused and expired drugs, keeping these potentially dangerous prescription medications from getting into the wrong hands," Pullen told THE BEE.

Medications are accepted on a no-questions-asked basis, Pullen observed, and then it is securely stored until incinerated – and their destruction by fire helps keep drugs from polluting ground water, she said. At day's end, they'd taken in just over a ton of medications for disposal – 2,150 pounds of them, to be exact.

The PPB White Collar Crimes Detail once again oversaw paper shredding at the event, where documents, containing information that could be used by identity thieves were destroyed. Before the event was over, two shred trucks were filled to capacity, with 20,000 pounds of destroyed paper.

"We're all seeing this as a wonderful opportunity to provide additional community safety services, where neighbors can have document shredding, electronics recycling, and a drug turn-in at the same place and time," Pullen said.

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