A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Caught in the act: Surreptitious dumping

Written December 21st, 2018 by Hasso Hering

See if you can spot the surveillance camera keeping an eye on the parking lot at Talking Water Gardens and Simpson Park.

Sometimes video surveillance of public property pays off. Consider, for example, the entrance to Albany’s Water Gardens, which not too long ago somebody mistook for a good place to discard a couch.

City Manager Peter Troedsson told council members about it in one of his weekly summaries of matters of interest. I read that and asked for the details.

Kristin Preston, who oversees the city’s wastewater system, passed along the gist of it. A couch, she said, was dumped in the parking lot of Talking Water Gardens and Simpson Park. A surveillance camera captured the vehicle plates, and the video was turned over to the Albany police for illegal dumping.

“Public Works staff removed and disposed of the couch,” Preston added, “costing the city approximately $50.”

This happened almost three months ago, at 8:57 on the night of Saturday, Sept. 29. I wondered what happened to the dumper. “The investigation is still open, according to Lt. Travis Giboney,” Marilyn Smith at City Hall told me on Dec. 12. “He promises updates as he receives them from the investigating officer.”

As for the surveillance camera, it was installed within the past year after a communications and electrical cabinet was installed at the Water Gardens. It’s connected to the surveillance system at the nearby Albany-Millersburg wastewater treatment plant.

There’s been no update in the case of the discarded couch, so maybe tracking down the culprit, if only to get back the city’s fifty bucks, is more complicated than it would seem. (hh)

7 responses to “Caught in the act: Surreptitious dumping”

  1. Don says:

    Good luck. Over the years we have had garbage dumped in the edge of the fields and along the roads. Even when their is names in it seldom does much happen as far as punishment or restitution.
    Of all the things there is to socialize I believe garbage pick up is one and the only that should be. We end up paying to clean up any way whether people dumping or along roads etc.

  2. Ray Kopczynski says:

    “Sometimes video surveillance of public property pays off.”

    If so, why is their such angst over same for the red-light camera[s] catching scofflaws?

    Side note: For years, “couch-dumping” has been an annual event in Corvallis at the end of the OSU school year…

    • Lundy says:

      Hi Ray. I suspect the camera generates angst for two reasons: 1) Right or wrong, people interpret it as less about safety and more about ticket revenue, and 2) I believe it’s still the case that a large majority of the fines that result from the camera are from people who slow to a near stop before safely turning right, as opposed to people plowing straight and dangerously through the intersection.

      • Ray Kopczynski says:

        #1 — “Perceptions aren’t right or wrong, they just are…” That revenue comes from their act in no way indicates the penalty was invalid for their getting caught doing something wrong.

        #2 — Whether or not that is true is irrelevant. (Can you be just a little bit pregnant?) They got caught doing something wrong.

  3. Tami Weir says:

    So they don’t even get a fine? Why?

  4. Melvin Tufteskog says:

    Change the water and sewer bills, by adding garbage service to everyone’s bill. A lot of towns have been doing this for years. You sign up for water and sewer, the service includes garbage and re-cycling.

  5. Cheryl P says:

    You have video survllience of the act, you have the vehicle and the plate, you have an address, so why is the investigation still open?


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