A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

An isolated case of arson, or what?

Written May 28th, 2020 by Hasso Hering

On the Clark Riverfront Path at 5:45 p.m. on May 27: Not the kind of thing you want to see.

This was not, it is safe to assume, a case of spontaneous combustion. I came across what was left of a trash can on the Dave Clark Riverfront Path on Wednesday afternoon.

The fire had occurred around midnight. The Albany Fire Department put it out and reports there were no witnesses, and whatever was in the bin was consumed by the flames.

“Unfortunately,” Fire Chief Shane Wooton told me, “this happens all too often when it comes to trash cans, Dumpsters, port-a-potties etc.”

The chief said both the fire and police departments monitor the frequency of these types of fires and look for trends. This might show whether they’re dealing with isolated cases or with an individual or group going around committing arson.

There’s a cost to the public besides the destruction of a convenience. The last time the parks department bought a trash can of this type, operations and maintenance manager Rick Barnett says, the price was $1,350 plus shipping.

If you look closely at the photo, you may conclude that to some dog walkers carrying around those loaded plastic baggies, any trash can will do, even if it’s burned. (hh)

7 responses to “An isolated case of arson, or what?”

  1. Gordon L. Shadle says:

    Okay, now I get it.

    A city garbage can in Albany is set on fire the day after protesters started torching Minneapolis.

    It’s a small town copycat thing.

    Thanks to the arsonist for making Albany part of a national conversation.

  2. Craig says:

    $1350 for a flammable garbage can?

  3. HowlingCicada says:

    Cigarette butts? Considering the location …

    “””People living with mental illness have a high rate of smoking. In America, 44.3% of all cigarettes are consumed by individuals who live with mental illness and/or substance abuse disorders. People with schizophrenia are three to four times as likely to smoke as the general population.”””

    • Bill Kapaun says:

      And are far more likely to vote Democrat.

      • HowlingCicada says:

        So are bicycle riders. I have as much evidence for this assertion as you do for yours (little, if any).

  4. Ray Kopczynski says:

    Take it down to local DIY car-wash and then a couple of rattle-cans of Rustoleum might do?

  5. Jim Engel says:

    So the CITY wants to spend a few million $$$ on improving the riverbank? Just to make more things for vandals to set afire! W/O frequent & timely (police/security) patrols it will just unravel to a vandalized area of expensive damage to fix with even more tax money.


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