Trash left by transients along the riverfront and Dave Clark Path may be an intractable problem, but Albany city officials are not giving up. They will consider even cameras to deter or detect illegal camping.
That’s my take-away from a small meeting Friday of Clark Path neighbors with Ed Hodney, parks and recreation director, and three others from the city administration. Russell Hawke (white T-shirt in the photo) organized the get-together.
Hawke bought a house and moved to Edgewater Village on the Clark Path from elsewhere in Albany six months ago. He was prompted to action after finding — and picking up — loads of trash along the riverbank below the path. (On Thursday he flagged me down as I was cycling near his house and told me of the planned gathering, so on Friday the bike took me there to listen in.)
The stuff left behind by riverbank squatters has long been a problem. The worst of it is out of sight of people who use the path on foot or on bikes, but Hawke also boats along the river below and has a closer view.
Another and continuing concern is that transients are bothering nearby residents with troubling behavior — incoherent shouting, intruding on private property, drinking and drug use, leaving needles behind, and so forth.
Hodney and the others talked for close to an hour. Among the themes: The parks crew will try to respond more quickly when piles of trash need picking up. Neighborhood volunteers may organize to patrol the path and environs and also pick up refuse, as some have been doing all along. City code compliance officer Kris Schendel will explore the possibilities of video surveillance.
One point on which everyone seemed to agree: The more public use the path receives, the fewer problems with improvised camping there should be.
Hodney said he won’t let the matter drop. He told the four residents attending (and one who stopped while walking her dog), they should meet again by mid-October to go over some options and review what is feasible to do. (hh)