PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — After KOIN 6 News shared the story of a woman living in Southwest Portland having trash dumped on her yard by a stranger with a shopping cart, a Portland city leader reached out to her after seeing the story.
On Tuesday, Nonnie George showed KOIN 6 the large couch, shower door, and other trash items thrown on her property and in the days since, neighbors have taken notice.
“I’ve gotten a lot of double takes, people walking by and biking by and just kind of look in shock or disbelief that there’s just a couch and all this other junk sitting out there,” George said.
Earlier in the week, a coworker offered their truck to help haul the junk. But with dumping fees for something as large as a couch, she didn’t feel like she should be the one to pick up the bill for someone else’s action in a city, she says, has been experiencing a growing trash problem.
Then on Friday morning, George received a message on social media from Christine Leon, the city’s director of the newly-formed Public Environmental Management Office, asking if the city could help with the trash.
“I was super grateful the city reached out to help while at the same time, it feels a little disappointing it took to be on the news to be heard,” George said.
PEMO was activated in May, after an emergency declaration from Mayor Ted Wheeler. It’s goal is to improve cleanup of trash and litter around the city, that is not related to homelessness, by being the centralized center for trash and vandalism services from eight different city bureaus and twenty city programs.
People can request and report illegal dumping, graffiti, trash and other things to the 311 help line and the PDXReporter app.
PEMO reports the city has been able to clean up 1 million pounds of trash each month since December 2021, five times the amount measured in 2017.
George says the city has “a long ways to go still” but hopes this is the first step in addressing the issue she has seen grow in her seven years in the city.
“I just hope that it continues to get better and they keep listening to people’s voices, keep listening to the issues, the problems and that they’ll continue to clean up the city, make it feel a little bit cleaner and make it feel a little bit safer for those of us living here,” George said.