City Declares State Of Emergency For West Tulsa Storm Victims

Monday, April 13th 2015, 11:13 pm
By: News On 6

Monday, the city of Tulsa declared a state of emergency to deal with cleanup in west Tulsa.

It's been a few weeks since a tornado destroyed about 1,500 properties in the city and much of the debris is still sitting in yards.

The city made the decision Monday evening, and neighbors said the help is exactly what they need.

In west Tulsa, tree trunks and other trash sit in four-feet high piles, some line the streets; and where piles of storm debris lie, frustrated neighbors, like Amanda Lyons, aren't far behind.

4/6/2015 Related Story: West Tulsa Neighborhood Moving Forward After Storm Damage

"I can't haul it off, I have back problems, my husband can only pick so much up to. My husband can't pick up that big tree root by himself," she said.

City crews used heavy machinery to pick up the debris on the corner of right-aways, but it doesn't help all the neighbors who live in between.

Lyons has so much storm debris it blocks the steps leading to her front door.

"I'm going to leave it here until the city does decide and come pick it up because that's their responsibility. We didn't plant the trees, we didn't knock them down," she said.

Other frustrated neighbors like Russell Satoe came up with their own ideas to get rid of it; some of those ideas were illegal.

"I'm going to burn it. We are going to have a big ole bonfire, have a weenie roast and some marshmallows,” said Satoe.

At first, the city said homeowners had to haul off the debris or schedule a bulky waste pick up at a cost of $5.

With thousands of dollars in repairs, some neighbors said even that was too much.

"I don't have no money, not to pick this stuff up," Satoe said.

During the Monday night meeting, city leaders looked through pictures of the damage and debris and decided to help.

They declared a state of emergency and voted to use money from the city's reserve fund to pay for storm cleanup.

Solid waste operations manager, Maureen Turner said, "It is exactly for emergency response items and other unforeseen items, that might happen.”

It's one less thing Lyons and other neighbors will have to worry about.

The city said it will release a statement in a few days outlining the specifics of the cleanup in west Tulsa. The city said only areas city leaders deem as the worst neighborhoods will be included.

So far, the city said it's hauled off 833 cubic yards of wast through the city's bulky waste program.

The Red Cross determined over 1,500 properties were damaged and 100 homes in the city of Tulsa.

The city set a spending limit of ten percent of the city's reserve fund, which is $360,000.