A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Area cleaned up by — guess who?

Written January 31st, 2019 by Hasso Hering

A freight train passes under the Pacific viaduct Wednesday. The area under the bridge has been cleaned up.

The Swanson Path and surrounding grounds, which only a week ago had been a mess of discarded blankets and other trash, has been cleaned up, and you’ll be astonished to learn by whom.

The path runs under the Pacific Boulevard viaduct and connects Albany Station with the neighborhood around Swanson Park. I went through there on the bike and complained about the conditions in a story on Jan. 22.  On another jaunt on Wednesday, the area under the viaduct looked much, much better. The rags were gone, and so was the waste paper and almost all the other trash.

Who cleaned it up, I wondered. I inquired at City Hall, and public information officer Marilyn Smith came back with the story in brief:

“The property under the overpass was cleaned up by people who were hanging out there, encouraged by APD Lt. Steve Dorn, who has recently been assigned to supervise the Community Resource Unit. He stopped by on his way to work on Tuesday and spoke to the people who were there. One was arrested on warrants; the others have moved on.”

Encouraged, eh? Whatever he said or did, it seems to have worked. This wasn’t the first time that the ODOT property under the overpass has had to be cleaned up, and chances are it won’t be the last. But if Lt. Dorn’s encouragement did the trick, it’s something to keep in mind for the next time.

I also noticed that some big graffiti on the concrete blocks of the path’s retaining wall had been painted over, not once but twice. For that chore, we owe a debt of gratitude to the maintenance staff of Albany Parks. (hh)

The story has been edited to correct the park’s name. After calling the park by its right name for more than 40 years, how can I suddenly come up with the wrong one? 

The discarded blankets and other debris were gone on Wednesday afternoon.



4 responses to “Area cleaned up by — guess who?”

  1. Jim Engel says:

    I had the pleasure of working with Dorn in my later years at APD (his early years). You couldn’t get a more qualified officer!

  2. Paula Stapleton says:

    Swanson Park, Swanson path

  3. J.Jacobson says:

    The last time Hering opined on this subject, the commenters had a heyday condemning poor people, homeless people, disenfranchised people, because only “those” people would dare desecrate the hallowed ground of Albany. The viciousness displayed by these middle American Albany residents proved just one thing. The veneer of civility covering the base crassness of Albany residents is a very thin one indeed. And now we learn that all it takes to clean up the deeds caused by the dregs of society is for a person to step in, step-up and ask that these god-awful creatures clean up their mess and voila….it happens. Is this what the Mayor was referring to when she called homelessness a lifestyle choice?

  4. L. LaRosseau says:

    I thought the “guess who” disbanded years ago after a rift between then guitarist Randy Bachman (of Bachman-Turner Overdrive fame) and the rest of the band. Despite his anti-establishment stage schtick, Bachman had, for reasons no one’s explained, converted to the Mormon belief system whilst the rest of the band were, by and large, rock ‘n roll heathens. The group’s roots are in Winnipeg after all.

    From the sounds of things, the group has reformed as a band and as do-gooder, philanthropical Canadians. This Reader hopes Hasso follows up on this story. The guess who were, and remain to this very day, my favorite Canadian rock band. Thank you, Hasso!


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