Man with calling upsetting residents

Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 27, 2015

One man’s mission to help others has put Ironton Mayor Rich Blankenship caught between understanding what the man is trying to do and Ironton citizens who want it stopped.

Since summer Cecil Oiler of Raceland, Kentucky, has spread out tarps in any parking lot he’s allowed and hosts his own clothing giveaway in Ironton. He has conducted similar events in Ashland and Greenup for the past year.

“I’m out here any day I can when it’s not raining,” Oiler said. “This is what the Lord said to do, help those who have the least.”

Email newsletter signup

However Blankenship said some city residents look at the giveaway as an eyesore and potential health hazard.

“I have been bombarded with complaints about this situation,” Blankenship said. “The health department is concerned. There is a big increase in bed bugs and with the clothing on the ground we don’t know where it comes from. There are concerns from citizens. I’ve had complaints on how it looks when you drive through the city with clothing laying on a parking lot.”

Oiler has agreed to remove his handmade signs that he has put on city property advertising the giveaway.

“You can’t throw signs up and put on light poles,” the mayor said. “They could be a traffic hindrance leaning across our intersection poles.”

Blankenship wants to work with Oiler to find another avenue for the clothing he wants others to have.

“I don’t disagree with his mission,” he said. “There are places where he can take those clothes.”

Right now Oiler has also agreed to keep the clothing in the truck.

“At this point that is all I can ask of him,” Blankenship said. “We don’t have anything in our laws to prohibit giving away clothing items on private property.”