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What's Happening in Oak Ridge!?

After more than a year of active efforts to suppress COVID-19, City of Oak Ridge facilities are returning to normal operations. A review of all City departments and services has been conducted and although not at full capability, the following is a summary of various services.

Departmental services are continuing. City officials strongly urge citizens to conduct their business electronically, over the phone, and by mail whenever possible. Financial transactions can be handled electronically and via mail. If you need to reach a department, call the number listed below for each department or click here for a list of all departments. You can also reach a department by email or social media.

Please call the City Manager’s office or department offices on the City’s website for further information.


Changes to Oak Ridge’s Solid Waste Services to Begin in July

Beginning in July, the City’s 25-year solid waste contract will end, and the new contract will begin – meaning changes will occur with City of Oak Ridge Solid Waste services.

Regular trash pickup will continue to be provided weekly but will now be picked up at the curb. New and larger, 95-gallon, trash bins will be provided at no cost. The new bins, which will have bigger wheels, will be delivered in mid-June. They will include an information packet on the services and how you can dispose of your current trash bin, if you choose.

Recycling services will remain curbside. The brown recycling bins will be replaced if they are currently damaged and need replacement.

“With the savings from reusing our current recycling bins, we are able to keep the rate increase with the new contract low,” Oak Ridge City Manager Dr. Mark Watson said.

The residential waste/recycling fee will only increase by $1.20 per month, from $14 to $15.20.

To request backdoor pickup, contact Oak Ridge Public Works at (865) 425-1875 to request a form that shows verification from a medical provider that they have a disability or physical limitations that prevent them from being able to bring their trash to the curb.

The form can also be found at bit.ly/ORbackdoorpickup and on the City’s website at OakRidgeTN.gov/department/PublicWorks/Home, by clicking ‘Apply for Backdoor Pickup’ under the dropdown menu for ‘Household Trash & Recycling’ at the top of the page.

Brush pickup will continue to be conducted once, annually, in the spring.

After receiving feedback from residents that the annual fall leaf pickup was taking too long, the new contract will require the pickup to be completed within 60 days.

Many residents have previously expressed the desire for an additional pickup for bulky, household rubbish like old appliances and furniture no larger than 3' high x 4' wide x 8' long, and 100 cubic feet.

Therefore, household trash pickup will now be held twice a year: spring and fall.

Residents can use the Warehouse Road Convenience Center 5 days per week, Wednesday through Sunday. It will be closed on Monday and Tuesday to allow for staff to conduct maintenance on the machines and equipment.

For more information, contact Oak Ridge Public Works at (865) 425-1875.


Citywide Brush Pickup Underway


The citywide brush pickup program is now underway.

Tree limbs and bagged yard clippings/leaves will be picked up. City collection efforts will follow the accompanying schedule as closely as possible. The proposed schedule is a general guide and can vary considerably from the actual schedule due to weather conditions and/or the amount of participation by residents.

  • All limbs should be placed near, but not beyond the curb, with the butt end near the street. Keep all materials off sidewalks, parking areas, and out of gutters. Residents are asked to not place any brush at the curb more than one (1) week prior to the scheduled pick-up day in order to maintain the cleanliness of our City.
  • Limb diameter should be no larger than three (3) inches at any point.
  • Yard clippings and leaves must be in plastic bags. It should be noted that yard waste will be collected with the regularly scheduled refuse collection throughout the year.
  • There is a limit of one (1) truckload of material per residence. A truckload is defined as one (1) pickup truck or approximately 3' high x 4' wide x 8' long, approximately 100 cubic feet maximum.
  • Crews will not pick up piles that have brush or limbs mixed with rubbish or trash. 
  • All materials must be in place no later than 7:30 a.m. on the scheduled pick-up day to ensure pick-up. Any materials put out after 7:30 a.m. on the scheduled pick-up day may not be picked up.

For more information, contact Waste Connections of Tennessee at (865) 482-3656.


Pilot Club of Oak Ridge donates a dozen helmets to ORPD


The Pilot Club of Oak Ridge donated a dozen bicycle helmets this month to ORPD to help keep your noggins safe while biking!

While out patrolling, officers will keep a helmet in their vehicles to give to anyone they meet who may need a bike helmet this spring.

In Tennessee, helmets are required for people riding bicycles under the age of 16. While they are not required for those over 16, we strongly recommend all bicycle riders wear helmets.

Thank you, Pilot Club of Oak Ridge for keeping our people safe!


ORFD's Shay West promoted to ‘B Shift’ Captain

Oak Ridge Firefighter Shay West has been promoted to Station 1 ‘B Shift’ Captain. West began his career with the Oak Ridge Fire Department (ORFD) as a Firefighter/Engineer in January 2014.

He takes over for Ray Burney, who was promoted to Battalion Chief earlier this year. West has been assisting with the department’s safety and survival training and plans to continue that work in his new role, which he began last month.

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ORFD's Bryan Chase earns National Fire Academy Managing Officer Designation

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Oak Ridge Firefighter/Paramedic Bryan Chase received his Managing Officer Designation last month from the National Fire Academy (NFA). Oak Ridge City Manager Dr. Mark Watson and Fire Chief Travis Solomon presented the designation to Chase. 

The NFA’s Managing Officer Program is a multi-year curriculum that introduces emerging emergency services leaders to personal and professional skills in change management, risk reduction, and adaptive leadership. To achieve this designation, Firefighter Chase had to complete five prerequisite courses followed by four core courses at the NFA over a 2-year period. Additionally, he had to complete a Capstone Project where he applied the training he received. His project focused on using new technology to improve ORFD pre-incident planning and community risk reduction processes. This project has identified areas where a higher risk of fire exists and presents strategies that can be used to reduce this risk.

Firefighter Chase has been with the department since 2007 and was the 2013 ORFD Firefighter of the Year. He currently is assigned to Station 1 where he is a firefighter, engineer, paramedic, and acting captain when needed.

Additionally, he earned his Bachelor of Professional Studies Degree from the University of Memphis with a dual concentration in Fire Service Administration and Fire Prevention Technology. He is also an accredited Fire Officer through the Center for Public Safety Excellence.


City transitions to online connection for building, planning and code enforcement


The Community Development Department is excited to announce that its CityView Portal for building, planning, and code enforcement has launched!

Residents and builders can now submit building and land disturbance permits, trades permits including mechanical, plumbing, and electric, code complaints, and Planning and Zoning requests like plats and site plans through the online portal.

Customers can contact the Community Development office at codes@oakridgetn.gov or by calling (865) 425-3532 for Codes or (865) 425-3531 for Planning any time during normal business hours with questions or for more information.


Poplar Creek Seminary Historical Marker Replaced

Special thanks to UCOR for funding the replacement of the Poplar Creek Seminary Historical Marker that was stolen several years ago. This is one of 14 Tennessee Historical Commission markers in the City of Oak Ridge.

PHOTO (From left to right): Mick Weist, ORHPA (Oak Ridge Historical Preservation Association) Executive Director; Ray Smith, Oak Ridge City Historian; Ashley Saunders, UCOR Reindustrialization & Federal Land Reuse Manager; Joe Aylor, UCOR Chief of Staff; Eric Ault, Assistant to the City Manager; Terry Domm, ORHPA Board Chair.


2021 Dogwood Junior Championship takes place at Melton Lake Park

It's regatta season! The 2021 Dogwood Junior Championship Regatta took place at Melton Lake last month.

Lieutenant Governor Randy McNally presented the winners of the Men and Women's Youth 8+ and the winners of the Governor's Cups.

The Cincinnati Juniors won the Men's Youth 8+ and the Governor's Cup with a time of 6 minutes and 16 seconds. Saint Andrews won the Women's Youth 8+ and the Governor's Cup with a time of 7 minutes and 2 seconds.

Dogwood Juniors is the premier 2000-meter test for youth across the Southeast. 800 rowers came to Oak Ridge for the event. There were about 1,000 observers, family members, and fans who came to cheer them on.

Oak Ridge Rowing Association (ORRA) is located at 697 Melton Lake Drive; Oak Ridge TN 37830. ORRA hosts a number of events each year.


City of Oak Ridge now accepting applications for 2021-22 Youth Advisory Board

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The City of Oak Ridge is currently accepting applications for board members of the Youth Advisory Board (YAB) for the 2021-22 school year.

Sixteen applicants will be confirmed and appointed by City Council to serve a one-year term of office that commences on Aug. 1, 2021. To be considered, applicants must be residents of Oak Ridge and entering grade levels 8 through 12.

All interested students are encouraged to fill out the online application on the City Clerk’s page on OakRidgeTN.gov or deliver a paper copy to the City Clerk's Office by Friday, June 4, 2021, by 5 p.m.

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EnergySolutions Donates Rail Track in Support of Oak Ridge Airport Project

To support the proposed Oak Ridge Airport, EnergySolutions announced this month plans to donate a section of rail track to the City of Oak Ridge.

In January, Oak Ridge City Manager Dr. Mark Watson contacted EnergySolutions asking for their consideration of transferring 1.67 miles of track affecting the proposed airport’s 5,000-foot runway. EnergySolutions followed up with the City and has chosen to donate the track to the City instead.

“EnergySolutions is pleased to make this donation to the City as a gesture of our commitment and support for the City and the City’s plans for the airport,” Joe Heckman, President of Waste Management at EnergySolutions said.

The track being donated is from the Wheat Station area to the south end of the line near Portal 10.

“This donation will save the City a substantial amount of time and money in the process to help bring a general aviation airport to Oak Ridge. The costs to construct replacement track are significant and exceed $1 million per mile,” said Oak Ridge City Manager Mark Watson. “We appreciate EnergySolutions’ dedication to helping move this project along.”

As part of the donation, the City will cover legal costs and fees needed to transfer the property.

The proposed Airport Project has been previously estimated to cost a total of $55 million. Through a series of grants from the State of Tennessee Aviation Department and Appalachian Regional Commissio, it is targeted to complete the project in mid-2025. Should this prove not to be the case, further financial authorization would be required by City Council.

It has received widespread regional support, including from the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, UT Battelle Development Corporation, UCOR, and the Chambers of Commerce of Oak Ridge, Knoxville, and Blount County. The airport will support general aviation in the greater Oak Ridge Corridor and Knoxville region. It’s also expected to support growth in the business and industrial sectors.

The airport project is being directly managed by the City Manager’s Office. For more information, visit OakRidgeAirport.org or contact the Oak Ridge City Manager’s Office at (865) 425-3550.



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Oak Ridge City Manager inducted as UT MPPA Fellow in Professional Practice

Oak Ridge City Manager Dr. Mark Watson was recognized this month and inducted as a University of Tennessee (UT) Masters in Public Policy and Administration (MPPA) Fellow in Professional Practice.

The purpose of the "UT MPPA Fellows in Professional Practice" award is to recognize in a more formal, public way, the tremendous contributions that distinguished practitioners make to the advanced professional education and training of UT MPPA students.

"This honorary designation is conferred by majority vote of the MPPA faculty and signifies that the individual inducted is an accomplished, experienced professional and skilled communicator whose career exhibits the highest standards of performance and ethical excellence and is worthy of emulation by our students in public administration, public policy, and public affairs at the University of Tennessee," UT MPPA Professor and Director Dr. David H. Folz said.

Watson received his doctorate in philosophy from the University of Tennessee in May 2019.

“The UT faculty recently surprised me and honored me with the Fellow in Professional Practice award. As I go about the business of Oak Ridge, it sometimes takes others to bring attention to the impacts you are having. I enjoy the aspects of coaching new students on the merits of public service. The ability to use their talents for the City of Oak Ridge is something that benefits everyone including the students, graduates, University of Tennessee, the City of Oak Ridge and myself personally,” Watson said.


Watson was recognized at the 2021 MPPA Hooding & Awards Ceremony that included Fall 2019 graduates. Among those graduates was Assistant to the City Manager Eric Ault who received his Masters in Public Policy and Administration. He joined the City in February 2020.

Some of the City’s former interns and assistants include Bruce Applegate, ACM Covington, KY; Athanasia Senecal-Lewis, ACM Cambridge, MN; Lily Seabolt, City of Knoxville; and Aaron Gold, associate professor Coast Guard Academy.

According to the University of Tennessee, the MPPA is a professional degree program designed to prepare students to assume responsible positions in public service through a program of study that integrates the theory and practice of public administration and public policy. The program aspires to produce graduates who are literate in the fields of public administration and public policy, have the skills to be effective managers of organizational resources, and possess the analytical abilities to be creative problem solvers.

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