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City considers littering law

Staff writer

Grass clippings, beer cans, and plastic bags.

What do these items have in common? If the Hillsboro City Council adopts an ordinance prohibiting litter, they would be included with other items considered to be litter.

The council discussed the issue at the Aug. 19 meeting and previous meetings, mostly concerned about grass clippings being blown in city streets from freshly-mowed lawns. When those clippings are washed into the city’s storm drains, the drains become clogged, causing damage to the pipes and employees’ time to clear.

City administrator Larry Paine distributed a copy of an ordinance being used in other cities that would prohibit such nuisances.

The sample ordinance stated: “No person shall, intentionally or recklessly, throw, place, drop, or deposit or cause to be deposited any object or substance (including) any public street, highway, alley, road, right-of-way, park, public place, or any lake, stream, watercourse, or other body of water …”

If the ordinance was adopted, littering would be considered an unclassified misdemeanor offense which would be punishable by a fine not to exceed $500 and by confinement in jail not to exceed 30 days.

Paine said a homeowner had complained about grass clippings in the street which caused her drainage pipe to become clogged.

“There are other ways to dispose grass other than on streets,” Paine said. He said those who mow should blow the grass back on the property or sweep along the street where the clippings were blown.

“Otherwise we’ll have more problems,” he said.

The reason grass clippings cause such headaches is the grass decomposes and becomes dirt which settles in the pipes.

Paine clarified that even though the ordinance would not specifically state that littering included grass clippings, grass clippings would be considered litter.

The council will review the ordinance again at the next meeting Tuesday, and consider approving it.

Last modified Aug. 27, 2008

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