Some folks living in the area of Ithaca and Myers Streets in south Oroville say they're not happy with the policy of the Butte County Department of Public Works. A county employee in charge of cleaning up the area Monday hauled a load of discarded furniture from nearby alleyways, and stored it on private property on the street corner. Residents said they saw the county truck leave the junk on an empty lot, but without giving an explanation. Many believed an off-duty employee left the old furniture there as a way to get rid of it, using the company truck. It turns out, the employee was just doing his job.
The department is defending the practice of using their "right-of-ways" for temporarily storing trash. Assistant Director of Public Works Shawn O'Brien says, "Sometimes it's too much to take in one trip, so he picks a spot to consolidate, and we schedule to have a bigger truck come in to pick it up later."
Wednesday night, Action News aired a story explaining that residents were upset that this new pile of trash was prominently displayed on a street already plagued with problems, including widespread illegal dumping. Thursday, in response, the department sent out an emailed response, describing the story as "inaccurate," despite the fact that Wednesday, a spokesperson for the department told Action News it had no knowledge of illegal dumping by an employee at the corner of Ithaca and Myers Streets.
The empty lot at that corner is owned by a private citizen, so it appears dumping garbage there, even temporarily, is illegal.
The department says the clean-up program in the area has been successful, resulting in a 95% reduction in trash on the streets since it began.
Residents say they're happy that the county is cleaning up the area, but would like some warning if heaps of trash will be dumped in the area. Says Ken Doty, "I have not received any notice of dumping in our backyards. It does not help property owners, it doesn't help the community, it lowers our property value, and it demoralizes us as a community."
Ken Allison, who has lived in a nearby home for 16 years says he appreciates the county's efforts, but is worried the pile will encourage others to use the spot as a future dumping site. He says, "I wouldn't want anybody to see this and get started, bringing all their stuff to the start of a dump. Anybody that wants to can add to it."
The department says it takes illegal dumping very seriously. If you you spot illegal dumping, call (866) 369-DUMP.