Mayor Wheeler hires ‘trash czar’ to fix Portland’s garbage problem

Published: May. 10, 2022 at 5:29 AM PDT
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PORTLAND, Ore. (KPTV) - Gun violence, the homeless problem, and garbage are all issues important to Portlanders. On Tuesday, Mayor Ted Wheeler released a new plan to clean up the city.

A recent survey found most people feel garbage is a big issue and even has become dangerous. It’s often volunteers who pick up the sometimes thousands of pounds of litter and debris in cleanup efforts from sidewalks, parks, and in front of businesses.

FOX 12 spoke with a cook at a local food cart on Southeast Foster, who says he’s seen piles of garbage with seemingly no one taking care of it.

“Recently, there was an incident over by the bus stop over there. There were a bunch of trash bags laying around with trash inside just spilled out all of over the street,” said Kristof Rau, cook at Mumbo Gumbo. “I think it’s been pretty noticeable, pretty gross to look at.”

On Tuesday, Wheeler signed an Emergency Declaration that will work to improve the cleanup of the city, unrelated to homelessness. According to a release from the mayor’s office, the Emergency Declaration will streamline the work and accountability for cleaning up, dealing with trash, graffiti, illegal dumping, abandoned cars, and more.

A new center, the Public Environment Management Office, will manage operations.

Wheeler announced Christine Leon, who currently manages the Development Permitting and Transit Group for Portland Bureau of Transportation, will serve as the Director for the Public Environment Management Officer.

People that FOX 12 spoke with said they’re not sure what exactly the best solution is, but that cleaning up the city should be a priority.