Tulsa's neighborhood cleanup plan is keeping the phones ringing at city hall

Tuesday, August 24th 2004, 10:33 am
By: News On 6

The plan is so popular; the city of Tulsa can't keep up with it. The cool summer and lots of rain created an overload of high grass complaints to Tulsa's Mayor's Action Center.

News on 6 reporter Emory Bryan says the city has standards on how people maintain their property - but they can't fix problems unless people report them.

Right now so many people are reporting high grass - the city doesn't have the people to handle most all other complaints.

As long as there are neighbors who put cars up on blocks and leave old junkers in the driveway, there will be plenty of work for neighborhood inspectors like Raquel Dawson. Tuesday, she's documenting high grass and junk around a broken in, abandoned house on North Louisville.

The city can demand homeowners cut the grass and clean up the yard. If they don't - the city does it for them and sends out a bill. This time of year - and especially lately - the inspectors are swamped with complaints about high grass.

There is no shortage of abandoned houses with high grass - but the North Louisville one rose to the top of the list because it's open, and has children in apartments next door. If they get in, they could get hurt.

The neighbor, Robert Mayweathers, called the city about the North Louisville house. “It makes you mad, but it also makes you sad that someone would leave their property like that."

Complain calls come in at the Mayor's Action Center. They hear about a lot of problems they can't fix - but if it's a code violation they call out neighborhood inspections. They can't get to everything right now, but if it's urgent - one of 10 inspectors - like Raquel - will start the process of getting it fixed.

Right now there are 1,600 backlogged cases that aren't considered urgent. They're only responding to things that could impact health or safety. But the complaint line is open; 596-2100 is the number to the Mayor's Action Center.