BEND, Ore. - If you think driving your car has been tough this snowy Central Oregon winter, imagine driving a garbage truck.
"This is the biggest disruption for us in service, being able to provide service to our customers," Bend Garbage and Recycling President Brad Bailey said Wednesday. "Since, well, ever."
It's been a winter for the ages, and trash pickup is just one of the industries having to adjust to rough road conditions. The berms on the sides of streets are giving garbage trucks little room to maneuver on residential roads -- a detriment to all drivers.
"We've actually had, I think, about six people run into our trucks," Bailey said.
Some roads are just too tough to get into, leaving some people without trash pickup service. The bigger problem with that is when you get behind, it's harder to catch up.
"The snowball effect is that if you can't pick up some of your customers one day and the next day you can't pick up some of your customers, and the next day -- it just compounds on itself," Bailey said.
They send smaller trucks to fit into the harder to get places, but even then they can't hit every house.
"Even with the best equipment that we have, we cannot access some driveways and some streets," Bailey explained. "It just is not safe, and physically our trucks will not go down there."
And then there's the problem of trash cans being frozen to the ground. At some points during the winter, they actually had to put two people in the trucks in order to get the cans unstuck from the side of the road.
As for those places the garbage trucks can't get to , Bailey has actually gone out in his pickup truck to service homes that were too tough for a garbage truck to reach.
You can visit Bend Garbage and Recycling's website here: https://bendgarbage.com/