South County Beat: Clean sweep this weekend in Oceano

The last time a massive cleanup effort was organized in Oceano, 500 volunteers collected and helped dispose of 500 mattresses, 500 appliances, hundreds of tires, a 15-foot pile of scrap metal, 225 tons of miscellaneous garbage and 120 vehicles.

That’s according to an article published Oct. 12, 1998, in The Tribune about a weekendlong cleanup effort.

Now, 13 years later, a group of local volunteers has decided it is time for the community to purge itself again of old appliances, junk cars and furniture.

Prompted by Oceano Advisory Committee members — who advise county planners and supervisors on projects and developments — a group formed and selected a name: Keep Oceano Beautiful.

“People had been talking about driving through the community and seeing junk in the alleyways,” said Tony Presser, a co-chair of the organization. “This is our home, and we like to keep it clean.”

The cleanup is slated for Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. All items must be placed on the street by 8 a.m. Saturday. Or they can be dropped off at 15th and Paso Robles streets or Highway 1 and Railroad Street.

Currently, the group has about 20 volunteers, including six people with pickup trucks who plan to drive around the community, load items and bring them to central staging areas, where they’ll be separated and taken to appropriate dumping sites.

More volunteers are welcome, including anyone else willing to bring a pickup truck or trailer and gather items, Presser said.

Most items will be hauled away for free. But there is a $5 dump fee for each mattress and item of overstuffed furniture, and a $2 charge for each passenger tire.

Seniors, disabled people and others who need help moving items outside can call the Oceano Community Services District office at 481-6730 or Presser at 270-8316.

Anyone wanting to get rid of a vehicle is asked to call Tim Fielder, a member of the San Luis Obispo County code enforcement staff, at 781-1298. For more information, go to www.sloplanning.org.

Arroyo Grande blooms

For the second year in a row, Arroyo Grande won first place in its population category at the annual America in Bloom national awards ceremony.

Arroyo Grande won the 15,000 to 20,000 population category and also received recognition for its efforts in heritage preservation during a ceremony Saturday in Washington, D.C.

The city was judged on eight criteria, including tidiness, community involvement, environmental awareness and heritage.

America in Bloom is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting nationwide beautification programs and personal and community involvement through the use of flowers, plants and trees.

For more information on Arroyo Grande in Bloom, a local nonprofit dedicated to beautifying the city, go to www.aroyograndeinbloom.org. Cynthia Lambert and Gayle Cuddy write the South County Beat column on alternating Wednesdays. Reach Cynthia Lambert at 781-7929. Stay updated by following @SouthCountyBeat on Twitter.