Storm debris clean-up efforts continue

May 14, 2024

Public Works: Curbside collection for debris could take weeks

Bartlesville continues to make progress in the aftermath of a tornado that tore through the community on May 6.

About 1,200 homes were affected by the EF4 tornado, which hit Barnsdall before touching down in southwest Bartlesville and moving northeast. While some structural damage did occur in Bartlesville, there were no fatalities and no serious injuries reported.

“The two hardest hit areas in Bartlesville were northeast of Tuxedo Boulevard and in the southwest portions of town,” said Public Works Director Keith Henry. “Those areas had some damage to homes and structures, but the vast majority of the damage in all parts of town was tree damage.”

City departments launched an emergency response soon after the disaster struck, including Police, Fire, and Street Department crews. Firefighters responded to gas leaks, minor tree fires and power-related emergencies, while police officers worked 12-hour shifts to respond to all the calls for service and assistance. Street Department and other Public Works crews worked through the night and all week last week to clear roads of tree debris. About 6,000 homes and businesses lost power following the storm and some were without power most of the week last week. According to PSO, no storm-related outages remained as of yesterday.

Immediately following the storm, the City, thanks to temporary permitting by the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality, opened its free drop-off site for trees and other vegetative debris. That site remains open, and a free curbside collection got underway this week.

Curbside collection underway

A free curbside pick-up is underway beginning this week for storm debris in residential areas affected by the May 6 tornado. In addition to tree limbs, brush and other vegetative debris, the City will also pick up non-vegetative debris during this collection.

“In response to this storm event, we are expanding our curbside service to include non-vegetative debris such as fencing, roofing and structures,” said Henry. “It’s important to note this does not include the drop-off site. Because of our permitting from the ODEQ, only vegetative material can be accepted at the drop-off site west of town.”

Henry said non-vegetative materials collected during the curbside service will be taken to the Osage Landfill so they will need to be separated from tree limbs, brush and other vegetation at the curbside collection point.

“If you are a residential Solid Waste customer of the City and you live in an area that received storm damage, you are eligible for this free collection,” he said. “Just make sure your tree limbs and brush are in one area and any other debris is in a separate area at your curb, and our guys will come and pick it up.”

Crews have started the collection in the most heavily impacted areas – primarily the southwest and northeast portions of the city. They will move to more isolated areas as they can.

“Our goal is to make only one pass per customer, so we are urging everyone to have their debris at their curbside collection point now,” Henry said. “We’re asking everyone to be patient with us as we move through these neighborhoods, as it will take us several weeks to cover the entire town.”

Note: Tree limbs left for collection should be cut into lengths no longer than six feet and weigh less than 50 pounds.

Drop-off site open 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday

The curbside service is in addition to the free drop-off site provided on City property located on West Highway 60 just east of the Green Country Rodeo Arena.

“This site is for tree limbs and vegetative materials only,” Henry said. “This is strictly enforced by Public Works staff, which is on-site anytime the site is open.”

The drop-off site is open 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

For more information about the curbside collection or drop-off site, contact the Public Works Department at 918.338.4130.

Permit fees waived for affected properties

In an effort to assist Bartlesville residents whose property sustained damage caused by the tornado, the Community Development Department will waive building permit fees for these properties.

“In response to the tornado that has touched our community, the City of Bartlesville is stepping forward with support for those affected,” said Community Development Director Larry Curtis. “To aid in the rebuilding and recovery process, we are waiving fees for building permits, ensuring that our residents can focus on restoration without additional financial burdens.”

Curtis said additionally, code enforcement officers will temporarily relax strict enforcement of City codes in these areas.

“We understand the immense challenges ahead, so code enforcement will be temporarily relaxed in the hardest-hit neighborhoods,” Curtis said. “This measure is to facilitate a smoother and more compassionate recovery as we work together to lift our community back onto its feet.”

Reminder: City, State licensing required for contractors

To perform work in the City of Bartlesville, all roofers, general contractors, electrical contractors, plumbing contractors and mechanical (HVAC) contractors must be licensed by the City of Bartlesville.

In addition, all of those (except general contractors) must also be licensed by the State of Oklahoma. To become licensed, a contractor must meet minimum bonding and insurance requirements.

“In the wake of the recent tornado, residents should be cautious of unlicensed contractors and tree-trimming services looking to exploit the situation,” said Curtis. “Ensure any service provider is licensed and insured, avoid large upfront payments, get multiple quotes, and always insist on a written contract. If you suspect fraudulent activity, please report it to local authorities. By staying vigilant, we can ensure a safe and effective recovery for our community.”

For more information, see For further assistance, contact the City of Bartlesville Community Development Department at 918.338.4238.

Portions of Pathfinder closed

Portions of the Pathfinder Parkway running/walking trail remain closed due to damage and safety concerns.

  • The section of Pathfinder from the Highway 75 trailhead (near Senor Salsa) west to Lee Lake has been closed due to hanging limbs and damaged trees.
  • Closures also include the 2.5-mile portion near Bartlesville High School from Quapaw Avenue south along the Caney River and southeast to Silver Lake Road.
  • The Shawnee disc golf course area is also closed until it can be further evaluated.

“There are damaged trees blocking the path in several areas and broken limbs that could potentially fall and cause serious injury,” said Parks Superintendent Bobby Robinson. “These portions of the path are not safe to be on until we can get in there with a bucket (truck) and remove the hangers.”

Crews are working to re-open the path as soon as possible, but it will likely be several weeks due to ongoing cleanup efforts around the city.

Quick glance assistance

Public Works
Curbside collection
Drop-off debris site

Community Development
Code Enforcement
Contractor licensing

More help

Washington County Emergency Management

Cherokee Nation (for members)
918.453.5422 or 918.931.1950

Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief chainsaw teams

Samaritan’s Purse 833.747.1234