A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Labor Day in Albany: Trash pile has moved

Written September 6th, 2021 by Hasso Hering

On the north end of the Periwinkle Bike Path at mid-day Monday. (My bike leans against the wall.)

This, a garbage dump on a public trail, is still the exception in Albany. What can be done to keep scenes like this from multiplying as they have in other cities in Oregon and up and down the West Coast?

This particular dump of a child’s bicycle, bike parts, tires and assorted other stuff was on the northernmost extension of the Periwinkle Bike Path behind Lowe’s home improvement center. (The store is behind the wall on the left in the photo.)

The junk had been there a week ago, but in a different spot. The guy I talked to at the time challenged me to come back in a week and see it gone.

Well, he was half right. By Labor Day the junk pile had been moved, most of it, to the other side of the path.

A man and woman appeared to be living a few steps away from this trash pile on Monday, and their camp between the path and the bank looked not much different from this.

What’s the solution? We have laws against the trashing of public places. But what good are laws if we don’t enforce them because we lack either the will or the means, or both. (hh)

18 responses to “Labor Day in Albany: Trash pile has moved”

  1. Bob Woods says:

    So before Gordon and the rest of the ultra-right go berserk, here is something to think about in terms of America’s priorities.

    The war in Afghanistan cost 2 TRILLION dollars over 20 years and barely a peep was heard from most people. That amounts to $100 BILLION per year.

    Everybody is mad, both conservative and liberal, at the problem with the homeless/unhoused (choose your favorite).

    Federal Housing & Urban Development (HUD) says that on any given night there are roughly 580,000 homeless people in America. So what could you do with $100 BILLION dollars – one year’s worth of the Afghan War:

    $100 BILLION/580,000 people = $172,414 per homeless person. For that kind of money, one year of the war, you could have GIVEN every one of those people a $172,000 condo, and the housing developers would have made a tidy profit. And there would be no homeless.

    Now, I’m not saying that giving condo’s is the solution, but providing housing for the people who need it is CHEAP compared to the amount of money you were prepared, and did, pay for decades for a stupid war in a country where most people are illiterates.

    Quit turning politics into a never ending fight between conservatives and liberals. Look for solutions.

    • Bill Kapaun says:

      How does that justify trashing a place?

    • Gordon L. Shadle says:

      Your rant is nonsensical and distracts from the issue.

      So let’s refocus and concentrate on the valid question Hasso raised – What’s the solution?

      Given – Property owners in the city pay a tax rate that includes money for basic, essential city services like keeping every public place untrashy.

      Given – Property owners in the city pay a tax rate that includes money for basic, essential city services like enforcing local ordinances that identify and punish irresponsible people who trash public places.

      Given – The city is unwilling to clean up some trashy public places, especially public places outside the downtown area.

      Given – The city is unwilling to enforce local ordinances that punish some irresponsible people who trash public places, especially irresponsible people who litter outside the downtown area.

      Conclusion? The property taxpayer is not getting an adequate return on their “investment” in essential city services.

      Solution? Well, for starters the city should keep all public property untrashy and enforce its ordinances against every irresponsible people who is caught trashing a public space. This isn’t rocket science. It’s a matter of priorities.

      After the city meets its basic obligation to Albany residents, then let’s talk about additional solutions that prevent trashy behavior from occurring in the first place.

      • DSimpson says:

        “let’s talk about additional solutions that prevent trashy behavior from occurring in the first place.”

        Unless “trashy” is specific to littering, you’re mining an awfully deep shaft here.

    • Joanna S says:

      Wow – that was excellent and very true!

  2. Disappointed says:

    I had a difficult time getting across the bridge in Albany on Sunday at 1pm, there was a drunk homeless guy sleeping with all his life’s belongings taking up the sidewalk. He wasn’t going to budge.

    I have pictures. This isn’t going to get better soon.

  3. Jake (JJ) Johnny Johan Hartman says:

    Albany residents apparently lack the will to protect themselves with a Covid Vaccine shot and the author is worried about a trash pile on a trail almost no one uses?

    When Albanians and Linn County residents are this cavalier with their own lives, and all our lives for that matter, why should anyone be concerned about a pile of trash? The author would do better to proselytize for vaccines rather than his trash tirades.

    • Abe Cee says:

      Likely because in an ever growing pile of trash you could be endanger from more than just the Covid virus?

      Also, as previously stated, the city is being paid by those it’s taxing to keep this crap cleaned up and out of the way while the vaccine shot is being “forced” (read as highly encouraged over and over again) onto people that choose not to get it for a variety of reasons.

      • HowlingCicada says:

        Instead of repeating the usual reasons liberals say that conservatives “choose not to get it,” here’s just one:

        They’re committed to an ideology that somehow (I don’t know how) got itself heavily invested in the wrong side of this issue. Donald Trump could save 100,000 American lives, mostly those of his own followers, by abandoning his “but it’s you’re choice” message, and going all out with “highly encouraged over and over again.”

        Note: I’m aware that the partisan correlation with the vaccine isn’t perfect, but it’s quite strong.

    • Gordon L. Shadle says:

      I nominate you to be the local commissar for Biden’s plan to go door-to-door and compel vaccinations amongst the proletariat.

      While you’re at it, go for a twofer – jab em’ and determine if they are in possession of a gun.

      Resisters should be ordered to pick up trash in the people’s space.

      Your service would serve the collective good.

  4. Katherine says:

    The Creative Housing Coalition
    is doing just that.
    Teaming up with Habitate this group aims to make a major dent in Albany’s homeless and affordable housing issues

  5. Richard Vannice says:

    CORRECT! We have rights! Rights to do or not do this or that.
    BUT with every right comes a responsibility! The problem I see is that too many of us have never been taught that we have responsibilities.
    It is the irresponsible who are responsible for the enactment of regulations which they promptly exercise their right to ignore ad infinitum. Not just littering, but all the “little” things that so many refuse to see as necessary for a safe community.

  6. HowlingCicada says:

    Three-part solution. Conservatives won’t like Part A. Liberals and constitutionalists won’t like Part B. NIMBYs won’t like Part C at first. State-wide scale likely needed. National scale probably better.

    A – Build, at taxpayer expense, minimal but tolerable and dignified housing. Segregate those who need behaviorial management from those who don’t but simply can’t afford anything else. This is not a prison. Make it good enough so that you won’t often need to invoke Part B.

    B – Remove everybody and their homes and their pets and their trash from streets, parks, bridges, etc. Give them the choice of Part A housing (and Covid vaccination), or a fast-track to “institutions” of the state’s choosing. Note to JJ: If you think I want to make the world pretty for the privileged, you’re right, and I have no apologies.

    C – Fix the extreme lack of diversity of housing types and sizes. Build on Oregon’s new zoning law with tax and density incentives, reform of on-site parking requirements, design competitions, etc. The ever-growing share of non-family households is badly accomodated. Not everyone wants and can afford the typical too-big, too-fancy, suburban house. There are car-free possibilities that would make apartment complexes more livable, while at the same time increasing density and lowering cost. Also needed: smaller apartments but with better soundproofing. Just a few of many ideas.

    The addition of more housing at the low end, maybe with new subsidies, would help keep low-income but generally decent people off the streets, and keep them from slipping into societally-expensive pathology.

    I have no idea how many laws need to be changed to do any of this and how many court fights it will take, but I’m convinced that drastic, cross-partisan action is needed to keep Albany, and Oregon, and the United States, and much of the world, from slipping into social decline fueled by global resource exhaustion, overpopulation, and ever-increasing inequality.

  7. The beast says:

    I vote for B

  8. Bob Woods says:

    The City can clean it and other places up. But it won’t stop the problem as long as people have no place to live. Whether they are druggies, mentally questionable, low wage employees, or whatever doesn’t change things. These folks are unable to secure a place to live. Gordon says the City of Albany can just “clean it up”. That’s enabling the underlying problem to continue.

    And the courts have made it clear: You can’t make someone a criminal simply because they sleep on pubic property. Besides, it costs $116.89 a DAY to put someone in prison, where they get a bed, 3 meals a day and necessary medical treatment. That’s $42,665 a year. And YOU pay that cost.


  9. Fadedsoldier says:

    For all the people who try to claim that building more housing is the solution, you’re only partially right. More housing, more affordable housing, will get some people off the street. But those people aren’t typically the ones that are trashing up the place. Those that are creating the mini garbage dumps often can’t fit into society for a variety of reasons most often drug problems and/or mental health issues. If your next solution is institutionalization, well clearly you don’t know the history of asylums in the US and how they were home to unethical and illegal medical experimentation and torture. The closures of asylums is the primary reason that we currently have so many people in the street with mental health problems.

  10. Bill Kapaun says:

    I’ve been through there each of the last 3 days. It’s still the same except today I almost had to walk my bike through there because they had crap in the middle of the path.

    WHERE are they getting all these bike parts other than theft?


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