PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Tackling Oregon’s homeless crisis is no small task. Most people likely see homeless camping outside every day and the trash that goes with it.
That’s why Metro launched the RID Patrol pilot in late 2018 with a goal of tackling the problem of garbage on public property.
“They know the public doesn’t like to see a messy camp, they just don’t know what to do with it,” Rob Nathan with Metro said.
They work with non-profits like the Union Gospel Mission to pass out large plastic trash bags and encourage people to fill them up.
“It’s great to see, give people the opportunity to be resourceful and take care of their needs,” Nathan said.
The bag program offers a free pickup for the homeless. You can use the online form to report a bag or call 503.234.3000.
Michael McDonald has been staying at a camp near the Expo Center since October and has been on a mission to clean the place up.
“Oh, man. It was something else,” he said. “Everything, you name it, it’s in there. Kind of gross, really.”
He knows it won’t be easy but wants to buck the idea that everyone living on the streets is a mess.
He said he doesn’t understand how some people live that way and is optimistic about the cleanup.
“It’ll help everybody stay cleaner,” he said. “Even the drug users and whatever, just because you’re using doesn’t mean you have to live in filth. Clean up after yourself. If you can pack it in, pack it out.”
Since launching the program in November, Metro said it has collected nearly 10,000 pounds of garbage from camps. At the end of this year, they’ll review the program and hopefully keep it going.