A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

The trouble with people: the mess they leave

Written July 2nd, 2020 by Hasso Hering

That bundle of crumpled black plastic you see in my left fist is a dozen or more dog waste bags the Albany Parks Department was kind enough to supply and somebody then threw away or carelessly dropped on the Cox Creek Path.

Whoever it was left them there, to be scattered by the wind all over the path near where it ducks under the Union Pacific main line. That’s where I found them on Wednesday afternoon.

Going by on the bike, I first mistook all those black sheets in the bushes as carbon paper. Who still uses and then litters with carbon paper, or even knows what it is? That was my first fleeting thought.

Then I thought that somebody should pick these up. Nobody else was around to volunteer.

As soon the first one was in hand, it was obvious what they were. I’m guessing here, but somebody evidently picked up a bunch from one of the dispensers the city maintains around the various parks were people walk their dogs. And then, somehow, left them all — with nothing in them, I was glad to find out — on that bike and walking path along Cox Creek.

I grabbed as many as I saw lying around on the path and in the bushes, got back on the bike and took them to the nearest trash can, which happens to sit at the edge of the parking lot at Simpson Park.

Those plastic bags were not the only trash under the tracks that day. Often the place is a dump.

It makes you wonder about people sometimes. Our city crews try their damnedest to keep the parks and pathways in good shape, and then along come people whose first instinct is to leave their mess behind. (hh)

9 responses to “The trouble with people: the mess they leave”

  1. Richard Vannice says:

    I once heard someone say that, “This would be a great place to live if it weren’t for people.”
    Thanks for picking up the trash Hasso. Plenty of others would have walked on by and done nothing.

  2. john marble says:

    I highly recommend Martha Stout’s The Sociopath Next Door, a very easy and short read about poor behavior in our society. The author’s research indicates that at least 5% of us have no guilt, shame or remorse. These people cheat, lie and litter.

    • Ray Kopczynski says:

      And some of them even vote…

      • Leroy says:

        It is possible but unlikely, the person who litters the area, hopes to discourage people from visiting there, by reducing those who would find them in their shelter amongst the trash.

  3. Emma Eaton says:

    Thank you Hasso. I wonder what book would describe us that pick up after others in many different ways. Thanks John for the recommendation of the book. I never met a book that didn’t have something to offer!

  4. HowlingCicada says:

    Some people litter and others fail to follow COVID guidelines. Is there any moral difference besides the vastly greater consequences and unfortunate political correlation of the latter?

  5. James Engel says:

    H.H., maybe the person that grabbed that cluster of bags had an unruly dog & just let go of them while dealing with their “Kugo”?? This type of multiple using bags is common no matter if at camp grounds, hiking trails or city common areas. It is to each of us to behave in public, only take what we need if we can’t provide for ourselves and dispose of the mess appropriately. Once past 18 many of our mothers desert us & leave us to deal with our own messes! GROW UP….1

  6. Bill Kapaun says:

    Maybe if the courts dealt out more “Community Service” as punishment………
    Give offenders a path/trail/park etc. to provide litter patrol for a period of time.

  7. Rick says:

    Cujo the dog, I doubt it. Cujo the rabid human, perhaps.


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