PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A woman in Multnomah Village says she watched as a stranger dumped trash in her front yard and now is frustrated that she’s likely going to have to pay to clean up the mess.
On Monday, a bang alerted her to the disposal, and she saw a man dumping two pieces of a three-seat couch, a shower door and several other items from a shopping cart. Home alone, she didn’t feel comfortable confronting the man.
After calling the city, she’s now figuring out how to get the trash off her land, as the city says because it’s on private property, it’s her responsibility.
“I don’t want it to be on my dime to get rid of it,” Nonnie George said.
George has lived in Portland for seven years and in Multnomah Village since last fall. She’s seen the issue of trash around the streets of Portland getting worse, particularly in the last two years.
“I’m not sure what the city is doing about it,” George said. “Portland doesn’t seem very clean.”
KOIN 6 confirmed with the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability that removing trash, no matter if dumped or not, is the responsibility of the land owner.
BPS did point towards the METRO R.I.D program, a program around illegal dumping and reporting violations, but when KOIN called the program hotline, was also told that paying and taking care of removal is indeed the land owner’s duty.
The trash has been more than a private property issue in the Multnomah Village neighborhood.
“When I’m on my walks, I’m frustrated with how much trash I’m seeing,” said neighbor Rachel Strunk. “I get concerned about other people’s safety, animals’ safety. You never know what they’re going to eat when you look away.”
Strunk joined a neighborhood Adopt a Block program at the start of the pandemic. It started as a social outlet and has now turned into a social responsibility as she’s concerned about the amount of trash and the nature of what she picks up.
“I don’t want to judge people but also, when I’m picking up needles and excrement it doesn’t seem like a safe place to be,” she said.
George lives near the Safe Rest Village that opened in the neighborhood earlier this summer, though she supports that effort and thinks the issue of dumping trash predates the village’s opening.
The Safe Rest Village program has noted a few noise complaints near the village but has not received a trash complaint in the 150 feet surrounding the village. KOIN 6 crews noted the area near the village was one of the cleaner areas in Multnomah Village.
George hopes city leaders have some plan to address the growing trash for the sake of Portland’s future.
“I just hope the city keeps making moves to better Portland,” George said, “It’s such a fun city with so many great things about it. It’s beautiful and I feel like these kinds of things are what is pushing people away.”