A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

The cleanup never ends

Written January 23rd, 2018 by Hasso Hering

This was the scene under the Pacific Boulevard viaduct on Wednesday, Jan. 17.

The wasteland under the Pacific Boulevard viaduct is not exactly Albany’s garden spot. Vagrants have turned it into a dump where repeated cleanups have to be done.

The pile in the photo above was there last Wednesday. By the time I passed that way again on Saturday, it was gone and the ground was swept.

I inquired at City Hall, where Marilyn Smith in the city manager’s office told me that sometimes, the police department takes care of the cleanup and other times the city calls on the work crew of the Linn County Sheriff’s Department. In this case, though, she said it was the city’s park maintenance that got rid of the junk.

But then, here is a wide shot of the same area at mid-day on Monday:

To be fair, though, when I retraced my route 10 minutes later, the guy had wandered off and all the stuff at the base of that pillar had disappeared. It looked as though the man had struck camp and moved on.

This is state right-of-way. Highways 20 and 99E pass right overhead. ODOT has posted signs: No littering or staying overnight. The signs have no effect. People camp there because they can, nobody drives them off, and except on stormy nights, the overhead road deck mostly keeps the rain away.

The local paper had a story about the idea of putting up communities of “tiny houses” as a way to tackle the Albany homeless problem. Published reports say that in Utah, they’ve had success with providing housing — apartments, not tiny houses — as a cure for homelessness. Whether it would also cure vagrancy, who knows?

In the meantime, our public agencies continue having to clean up. (hh)

3 responses to “The cleanup never ends”

  1. Kathryn Biggio says:

    My sister and I walk this way on our morning walks and have been SO discouraged at the constant and increasing piles of debris, litter and mess in this area. MANY, MANY thanks to those who have made that area look so much better, if even for just awhile! Our walk is SO much more pleasant!

  2. Bob Woods says:

    There will never be a “cure.” There can be a significant reduction in the numbers of homeless and the severity of effects on the community. How to make that happen has no guaranteed single answer, and what may work for a while can lose effectiveness over time.

    The argument is always between those who want to do something and those who don’t, usually because it will cost money and they might be called upon to shoulder some of the financial cost.

  3. Kim Martin-Thanislaus says:

    I have a few pics of my recent adventures at our local parks here in Albany. Waverly Lake seems to be littered with debris left from the homeless and fishermen, evidence is overwhelming. At Kinder park there is a sofa mid-stream by the foot bridge in Periwinkle Creek. Kinder Park seems to be a dumping ground for litter bugs as well. Homeless have set up camp under the foot bridge as well. Somebody dumped a large load of junk curbside by the playground. I reported ALL to APD. Next day the pile of junk at curbside was picked up. Sofa is still in the creek along with numerous soda cups and other garbage. My observation on the sofa in the creek is somebody from nearby apartments or trailer homes didn’t want to pay a dump fee. So sad (what) our Albany parks have become. It sets a very poor example to the children that live here and want to enjoy those parks.


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