Portland residents say trash pick-ups haven’t gone far enough

Published: Jul. 26, 2022 at 4:50 PM PDT
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PORTLAND, Ore. (KPTV) - Adopt One Block has 6,300 volunteers picking up trash across Portland. Founder Frank Moscow said he started it about a year-and-a-half ago because it wasn’t getting done by other agencies.

“By giving (volunteers) their own block or a nearby block, by giving them all the pickup and cleanup tools they needed to be successful, they were able to impact their block and their community in a positive way,” Moscow said.

Moscow said specifically, the Oregon Department of Transportation, Portland Bureau of Transportation and Union Pacific Railroad have not done their job with trash pick-up. He said it comes down to who is in charge after some high-profile clean-ups are held.

“The place looks clean in that moment,” Moscow said. “But nobody’s following up and following through. What happens next week? What happens the week after that? What happens the week after that?”

Some areas have been cleaned under Mayor Ted Wheeler’s emergency order in February to ban camping in high-crash corridors.

But there are still others filled with camps and trash, like on the sides of I-5 at Delta Park and Marine Drive. That’s close to where Rick Page lives.

“It’s not always that easy because these are public sidewalks, and they can walk on them too,” Page said.

He said some of the unwanted activity near the highways has also spilled over to his condominium complex. This included a break-in of his own car.

“It’s really too bad because this is a really nice area,” Page said. “We take pride in our homes and it’s really a detriment to the neighborhood.”

Delta Park had large numbers of homeless in the last year but has since improved. Page said some of those living at the park didn’t end up going far.

“That doesn’t prevent the campers from going right across the street where ODOT has property,” he said.

ODOT has an agreement that the city of Portland must remove all camp sites on its property within city limits. Spokesperson Don Hamilton said it’s a matter of moving together with the city to get a camp site to eventual removal.

“We don’t lack for areas where we need to address problems,” Hamilton said. “We have problem areas really everywhere in the Portland area right now that we need to address.”

Hamilton said ODOT has its own crews and private companies that work on trash pickup every day.

Moscow said with $2 million set aside in the ODOT budget for this purpose until June of next year, more should be done.

“If I can do something to make Portland what it can and should be, I’m happy to do it,” he said.