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May 20

Hail the Heroes of Spring Clean Up!

Posted on May 20, 2021 at 12:54 PM by Michael Churchill

~ 684,719 Pounds of Junk Hauled Away ~

Every year, Rifle residents look forward to spring. Sure, we like putting away the snow shovels, leaving the house without multiple layers, and smelling the blooming flowers, but the big event each spring is Spring Clean Up. A chance to get rid of that old dresser that’s been relegated to the garage and is too big to fit in your car and take to the dump.  All you need to do is lure a few friends with the promise of a beer and pizza to help you drag it to the curb. And since you are “paying” them anyway, they can help with the old couch and the ancient metal filing cabinet. Then, one day while you are at work, your old junk miraculously disappears and you promptly forget it ever existed.

But there is one thing that shouldn’t be forgotten. Behind that almost mystical disappearing act is an amazing crew of City of Rifle workers. 

Due to the pandemic, there was no Spring Clean Up in 2020. Stay at home orders provided ample time to notice everything wrong with your abode. Home improvement projects ranging from simple painting to complete remodels were the norm. There was finally time to clear out the junk. And it accumulated. A lot.

Ordinarily, Department of Corrections inmates assist the City with the annual project. Due to COVID restrictions, that wasn’t allowed this year and it didn’t appear the event would be possible. Enter City staff. Employee duties were shuffled to allow people from different departments to spend their regular work day picking up the trash and hauling it away. According to Community Service Officer Alan Lambert who coordinated the effort, “it was actually a great teambuilding activity for us. I was able to work alongside people I had never even met. And the sheer amount of work was incredible. These guys were wiped out every Friday.”

It was a monumental effort. There were 191 trips to the landfill with 524,000 pounds of trash and 122 trips to the scrapyard with 160,719 pounds of scrap metal. The workers also hauled away 178 refrigerators, freezers and air conditioners which the City paid $15 each to dump.

All this work was accomplished in a nine day period using 21 City employees from five departments and two drivers from a private contractor.  Personnel included:

  • OPERATIONS AND MAINTENANCE: Colton Secary, Shawn Wade, Mitch Walpole, Andy Frantz, Danny Wisdom, Pedro Gonzalez, Dominick Guadagni and Eddie Meza.
  • PARKS AND RECREATION: David Lowery, Ronnie Chick, Austin Rickstrew, Colby Rennie, Albert Keller, Dan Goebel, Bill Leigh and Ryan Wright.
  • RIFLE WATER: Trish Fettig, Willians Alcerro and Jeremy DeBell.
  • RIFLE WASTEWATER: Bryce Heinecke.
  • RIFLE POLICE: Alan Lambert.
  • DOUBLE TROUBLE TRUCKING (private contractor): Tom Rice and Skip McDonald.

The 2021 Spring Cleanup Planning Committee included: Scott Hahn, Brian Prunty, Tom Whitmore, Tommy Klein, Robin Steffen, Colton Secary, David Lowery, Shawn Wade, Mitch Walpole and Alan Lambert.  Thanks goes out to Kathy Pototsky and Salvador Tovar-Guzman for getting the word out to Rifle citizens and Michelle Duran for crunching the numbers to make this happen.

A SPECIAL THANKS goes out to the Garfield County Commissioners who agreed to pay ½ the cost of each load taken to the West Garfield County Landfill. 

Most of all a THANK YOU to the Rifle residents who helped the cleanup crews by following the rules.  This makes it so much easier on the personnel on the ground loading the trucks!

Rifle Rapport is a periodic article featuring the people and projects of the City of Rifle. If you have suggestions for future articles, please contact Kathy Pototsky at 970-665-6420 or


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