Friday, June 27, 2014

From trashed to clean to trashed

Posted By on Fri, Jun 27, 2014 at 5:23 PM

On March 26, I told you about the city's illegal dumping problem

The story began with Jon Horton, a retiree who enjoyed hiking an area near Shooks Run that was overrun with trash and homeless campers. To be honest, the place was not only overrun with trash — it was a little scary.

Well, the other day, Horton called me again to invite me on another hike. He said I would be surprised by what I saw. After my story came out, he said, the area had been cleaned up. And while some homeless campers are returning, many are keeping clean camps.

He was right. Our hike started out in an area that was once clogged with trash. But look at it now:

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It was so nice in this area that Horton paused to study the peaceful surroundings and said, "This really could be a magical place." 

Further into the hike, which is near the Lowell neighborhood, we did see quite a few campers. Many were tidy. Horton, who says he doesn't mind the campers who are neat and friendly, stopped to warn one man that his tent was situated dangerously near the creekbed, considering flooding is possible in the next few days.

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Of course, there were some messy campers. Horton says if he sees anyone throwing trash around, he always tells them, "This is Earth, not Uranus." He gets a few laughs.

But, on a serious note, he says he plans to make a complaint soon to Code Enforcement about the vacant property. He doesn't want to see it get trashed again. And he's noticed that a few camps turn into dozens quickly. And then the trash comes.

"There's another one and another one," he says pointing at slouched tents among the trees. "Here they come!" 
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