Kelso residents, officials trying to solve growing problem of di - KPTV - FOX 12

Kelso residents, officials trying to solve growing problem of dirty needles found throughout city

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After residents in Kelso spoke out about the problem surrounding dirty needles found on the ground around town, the city along with the community is figuring out a way to solve the issue. 

One mother tells FOX 12 she is helping with the cleanup in the meantime, even if it means picking up one dirty needle at a time. 

Melanie Vienola lives in North Kelso, and said every time she and her kids walked near the path by her house, she told them to walk in a straight line. 

"Every time we come down here, we find one or two needles and that's on the walkway or just right off the walkway with the dog, with the kids," Vienola said and adds she is fed up. "It's a public safety issue and we shouldn't have to deal with it, I shouldn't walk down to the river and see needles all over the place." 

Vienola said she wanted to take action, so she contacted Desiree Salmon, a friend she said is active in the community through social media. 

"I was outraged, I was really upset for the fact that I bring my kids down with her and its scary I don’t feel comfortable allowing my children to come down here anymore," said Salmon. 

The duo took to Facebook, and asked for volunteers to help cleanup the area. They said dozens of people offered to help. 

"I’m just grateful the community wants to step in and be proactive and try to take care of this issue," said Salmon. 

The two said gathering folks for a clean up is a quick fix, but what they really hope for, is a fix that will last forever. 

"We need a needle exchange, more areas disposing of them," Salmon suggested. 

Vienola reached out to city officials including a Cowlitz County commissioner, who told her they are working through the deeper problem by offering mental and substance abuse programs. 

The Kelso City Manager told FOX 12 he appreciated the community's efforts and tried to work with the community volunteers in getting Kelso cleaned up.

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