JUNE & JULY 2021 | VOL. 7, ISSUE 6

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Upcoming Events

July 4 Fireworks Celebration

Indoor Yard Sale July 14

Property Taxes

Property taxes to be mailed out in July.



Brush pickup was completed July 2.

Changes with Solid Waste Services

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Beginning Monday, June 21, new garbage bins will begin to arrive at Oak Ridge homes. The blue bins should be used for your household garbage and be brought to the curb on your scheduled pickup date starting in July.

The new, 95-gallon trash bins will eliminate the need for residents to purchase multiple 32-gallon bins to accommodate household waste.

Many residents already participate in the recycle program and have previously been provided a brown cart that is taken to the curb. This service has not changed, but if you do not already own a brown recycle cart, one will be provided to you upon request.

Under the new contract with Waste Connections, both garbage and recycling need to be brought to the curb for collection.

If someone is unable to bring their garbage and recycling to the road, they must contact Oak Ridge Public Works at (865) 425-1875 to request backdoor pickup.

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This change will improve trash services by providing a uniform way to collect household garbage and recycling. This will reduce the amount of litter in neighborhoods caused by open containers or torn bags and improve overall waste and recycling services for residents.

Brush pickup will continue to be conducted once, annually, in the spring and the annual fall leaf pickup will be completed more quickly. Household trash 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 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 questions or more information, contact Oak Ridge Public Works at (865) 425-1875 or visit OakRidgeTN.gov.


News & Events

Oak Ridge July 4th Fireworks Celebration

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The City of Oak Ridge is sponsoring its annual fireworks show to celebrate Independence Day once again. The display will be held in A.K. Bissell Park on July 4th and is scheduled to begin at dark, around 9:45 p.m.

The Oak Ridge Community Band, now in its 77th year, will perform prior to the fireworks. The music is expected to begin at 7:30 p.m.

Anyone planning to attend is advised to bring a lawn chair or blanket for outdoor seating.

As a reminder, the discharge of fireworks within Oak Ridge city limits is prohibited without a permit.

All City of Oak Ridge offices will be closed on Monday, July 5, 2021, in observance of Independence Day.


Scam Warning From The Utility Business Office

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The City of Oak Ridge Utility Business Office has learned since last Wednesday, some customers have received calls from someone pretending to be with the City stating they are past due, and if they don’t pay, they will be disconnected. This is a scammer and NOT the City of Oak Ridge.


The City does not call delinquent accounts. If a customer is past due, a disconnect notice will print in red on their monthly statement giving them the past due amount and date to be paid by to avoid disconnection.

Here's what to watch out for:

  • Most of the people who have called to report the scam are residential customers
  • One customer said the caller said they were from another Utility Board in the area
  • The caller told customers they had 15 minutes to pay or would be disconnected
  • They told the customer their balance was a random amount, as high as $1,500
  • The calls are showing as coming from City of Oak Ridge, (865) 425-3400, but they are not coming from the City

For questions or more information, you can call my friends at the Utility Business Office by phone at (865) 425-3400.


Changes to Summer 2021 Hours at

Oak Ridge Pools

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A nationwide lifeguard shortage is impacting the hours City of Oak Ridge pools will be open this summer.

“Due to the lower number of lifeguards this year, there are not enough people to staff both pools for the same hours they were open in previous seasons,” Oak Ridge Recreation and Parks Aquatics Manager Vonda Wooten said.

The indoor pool at the Civic Center will be open on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Swim lessons are from 9 a.m. to noon and 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Open lap is from 12:15 p.m. to 4 p.m.

The Outdoor Pool is open for public swim Monday through Friday from noon to 6 p.m., Wednesday nights from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The Outdoor Pool will also be open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to noon for 100M lap swim.

As a reminder, areas of the Outdoor Pool may be closed at times depending on activities, attendance, and staffing. The kiddie pool remains closed this season for repairs. Private pool parties are not available. The pool schedule is subject to change due to weather, special events, and/or staffing.

For questions or more information, call the Recreation and Parks Department at (865) 425-3450 or visit orrecparks.oakridgetn.gov.


Oak Ridge Debuts New Brush Truck

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The Oak Ridge Fire Department is excited to announce it has a new truck designed for wildland firefighting.

The new vehicle, Brush 1, was purchased by the City and the equipment was purchased with a grant received from the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency, which is funded by the Department of Energy, for off-site emergency planning and response in the amount of $16,000.

It has a 300-gallon per minute Hale pump with a 300-gallon capacity water tank and a 5-gallon foam storage tank.

It can pump water through a bumper-mounted nozzle, which is operated via joystick inside the cab, while the vehicle is being driven so fire along the roadside can be contained and extinguished. This prevents having to deploy a hose line for a small area and helps to cover a larger area in less time.

Brush 1 also carries 200 feet of booster line for easy access, fire rakes, rogue hoes, and backpacks that allow a firefighter to carry a bladder of water on their back with a manual hand pump for extinguishing smaller fires. It has hose packs that carry 100-feet of one-inch fire hose and the necessary hardware for use away from the apparatus.

The department also purchased two backpack leaf blowers that help with cutting fire breaks into the ground, while blowing the unburned fuels toward the fire line. A chainsaw was added for cutting burning trees that create injury hazards and fall into the unburned areas.

Brush 1 was built by Anchor-Richey on a 2020 Dodge 5500 4X4 chassis. Brush 1 is in service and ready to help protect the citizens and property of Oak Ridge.

For more information, contact Oak Ridge Fire Department at (865) 425-3520.


ORFD Holds Pinning Ceremony

Thank you to everyone who attended Oak Ridge Fire Department's Pinning Ceremony last night. Special thanks to Lt. Governor Randy McNally, State Representative John Ragan, Councilmember Jim Dodson, ORFD Chaplain Pastor Mark Flynn, and City Manager Mark Watson.

Firefighters who took the Oath of Office include Cole Martin, Nathan Wells, Timothy Barringer, Andrew Butler, (not present: Shawn Organek).

Shay West took the Oath of Office for his new role as Fire Captain.


July is the peak month for grilling fires, followed by May, June and August.

When the warmer weather hits, there’s nothing better than the smell of food on the grill.

Seven out of every 10 adults in the U.S. have a grill or smoker, which translates to a lot of tasty meals. But it also means there’s an increased risk of home fires.

In 2014-2018, fire departments went to an annual average of 8,900 home fires involving grills, hibachis or barbecues per year, including 3,900 structure fires and 4,900 outside or unclassified fires.


Oak Ridge Has a New Mural!


Have you seen the new mural on the ORNL Federal Credit Union Broadway Avenue building? In June, we celebrated the official reveal of the completed mural.

Thank you again to artist Megan Lingerfelt. In case you didn't know, she also painted the mural at Melton Hill Lake seen behind the new ORFD brush truck we told you about earlier in this newsletter. Check them both out when you get a chance! 🎨


Oak Ridge Recreation and Parks to Hold

Indoor Yard Sale July 17

Have you always dreamed of cleaning out your attic, your garage or your kid’s closets and making a few dollars in the process but you just don’t have an ideal location? Well, here is your chance! For one day only, the City of Oak Ridge Recreation and Parks Department is hosting an indoor yard sale.

It will take place on Saturday, July 17, in the Oak Ridge Civic Center Gym, located at 1403 Oak Ridge Turnpike.

The sale will be from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. and we are looking for sellers. Spaces can be reserved for $15 and you can get up to two spaces, while they are available.

For applications, vendor rules and regulations, or more information, visit the Oak Ridge Recreation and Parks website at orrecparks.oakridgetn.gov/indoor-yard-sale/ or stop by the Civic Center front desk at (865) 425-3450.


Educational Programs for July at the Oak Ridge Senior Center

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The Oak Ridge Senior Center will be offering two lunch and learn programs this July.

The first session, titled Using Telehealth Services, is set for July 6 at noon. Telehealth services have become a much larger part of our overall health system in the last few years.

Join Dr. Elaine Bunick to learn how to effectively prepare for a telehealth visit with your doctor, including how to gather all your important health information in one place and how to do an accurate self-exam in front of your cellphone.

The second, titled Don’t Sweat Your Air Conditioning System, is set for July 20 at noon. Join Tim Cochran, Recreation Program Coordinator, and Rick Craft, Public Works HVAC specialist to learn do’s and don’ts about HVAC care and repair.

Due to COVID, you must bring your own bagged lunch, but bottled water will be provided. At this time, sharing of food and drink is not allowed. Space is limited, so call the Senior Center at (865) 425-3999 to reserve a spot now.

Like us on Facebook, check our website at oakridgeseniorcenter.com, or give us a call at (865) 425-3999 for more information about this or other programs offered at the Oak Ridge Senior Center.


Robertsville Middle School students Create Satellite Inspired by Gatlinburg Wildfires


Congratulations to these Robertsville Middle School Students for their launch of the RamSat Project! The group and their teachers were recognized for their hard work and presented with a Proclamation at June's City Council meeting.

RamSat, a small research satellite, or CubeSat, developed by Robertsville Middle School in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, will launch aboard SpaceX’s 22nd Commercial Resupply Services (CRS-22) mission. Lifting off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on June 3 at 1:29 p.m. EDT, CRS-22 will carry 7,300 pounds of cargo, science, and research to the International Space Station. The RamSat CubeSat onboard is on a mission to study forest regrowth in the Gatlinburg area following the 2016 wildfires.

This satellite will use small cameras to capture pictures of growing forests and radio communication to send those images to ground control in Robertsville Middle School’s STEM Classroom. Students will operate the mission using amateur radio frequencies to listen for RamSat flying overhead, send commands to control the spacecraft, and gather image data and information about the spacecraft’s health. RamSat’s mission, which could last up to 18 months, will begin when it deploys from the space station into its own orbit 250 miles above Earth.


Oak Ridge Oak Ridge Property Tax Statements Coming

The City of Oak Ridge is mailing out this year’s property tax statements in July.


In accordance with State Law, property tax notices are mailed to the property owner at the address on file with the State of Tennessee as of Jan. 21, 2021.

Because of this, some property owners may not receive a statement, a situation normally explained as part of the property closing process. Failure to receive notice of taxes due does not relieve the property owner of the obligation to pay or provide relief for late payments.


Property owners who did not receive their property tax statement, should contact the Utilities Business Office at (865) 425-3400 or look up how much they owe online in order to pay on time.


Property owners have until Aug. 31 to pay their property taxes without interest or penalty. On Sept. 1, interest will begin to accrue on the account. 


Property tax information can be found online through the City’s website at OakRidgeTN.gov. For more information, call the Utilities Business Office at (865) 425-3400.


City staff celebrate retirements

Several City of Oak Ridge employees retired this summer.

Debbie Collins and Jerry Gibbons with our Finance Department, and James Hall, James Webb, and Jon Van Eek with the Electric Department.

The City thanks them for their many years of service to the City and residents of Oak Ridge and wishes them a happy retirement!


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City of Oak Ridge Public Works Director Shira McWaters dies after short illness

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The City of Oak Ridge is mourning the loss of Public Works Director Shira McWaters.

“We have lost a colleague and a friend,” said City Manager Mark Watson. “Our hearts are with Shira’s husband, children and family as we share some small measure of their grief at the loss of this vibrant woman.”

McWaters came to the City of Oak Ridge in March of 2016, taking the helm of the Department which is responsible for much of the City’s essential infrastructure, from streets to drainage to water and wastewater.

She was a high-energy, involved leader who focused on maintaining the long-term viability of facilities in her charge while protecting and improving the City’s environment. Some of her many accomplishments included establishing a planned program for facility capital investment and leading the charge to make upgrades at the wastewater plant which both reduced costs and improved performance. She also recognized the need to replace the City’s aging water filtration plant and developed strategies to do so with the least financial impact to the water ratepayers.

“Shira will long be remembered for her unique pairing of incredible intelligence, keen insight, and problem-solving skills with unending compassion,” Watson said. “Among just a handful of female Public Works directors in the state of Tennessee, she was a pioneer and a one-of-a-kind person whom we were honored to have known.”

McWaters died on Saturday, June 19, 2021, after a short illness. She was 60 years old.

Patrick Berge, Public Works Utility Manager, has been appointed Interim Public Works Director while the City evaluates this important leadership position.

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