Saturday, September 23, 2023

Volunteers Cleaning Ukiah Valley’s Waterways Frustrated by Lack of Support by Board of Supervisors—Letter to the Editor

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Trash piled off the side of Ukiah’s Low Gap Road [Pictures provided by Charlie Kelly]

South Ukiah Rotary Club has been an enthusiastic supporter of cleanups along the Russian River since Becky Kress’ first efforts almost 30 years ago.

Over the last several years, we have participated alongside other volunteers organized by the MCRCD (Deborah Edelman et al) in cleaning up tributary creeks, including Ackerman and Orrs creeks (and others)

About two years ago, we organized an “independent” cleanup of illegal dump sites along Low Gap Road, west of the High School, with trash impacting Orrs Creek.  But the trash keeps coming!!

Trash scattered on the hillside above a waterway

Along the Russian River itself, and along the side creeks under the bridges, the trash is almost entirely from the homeless. But, further out along Orrs Creek, it is obviously household trash, including furniture, appliances, and tires!

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We have, from time to time, made suggestions to County supervisors and other staff that two things ought to be done:

  1. Put up “game cameras” above these dumping spots to identify – and prosecute – the illegal dumpers; and
  2. Put a large dumpster in the area, to be serviced regularly

These suggestions have been rebuffed, again and again – with two statements: “no money” and “don’t want to [“enable” (free) dumping]”

We need help to move the County to do SOMETHING!

Charlie Kelly
South Ukiah Rotary Club
Environmental Service Committee

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  1. Taking household garbage to the dump is expensive, I don’t support littering but when it cost $8 for 1 trash bag it’s ridiculous, then fill up a whole trailer and it’s $80, the way they operate screws over the people with small amounts of trash.

  2. Charlie – thank you for your heads up on this. If South Rotary and is willing to lead with fundraising and installation and (perhaps with MCRCD) monitoring of cameras, I would be a happy donor – bum knees don’t permit me to physically volunteer!

    • Bingo!
      Probably end up with faster results by whipping up a ‘gofundme’ account and having the public chip in a dollar or two and have the whole thing done in a matter of days/weeks.

  3. Illegal dumping is a huge problem all over the state. The suggestions here have been tried and failed many times. Perhaps a reward program to encourage the law-abiding to report scofflaws is worth a try.

  4. I’ve traveled over most every public road in this county, and not once have I ever pulled over on a back road, looked over the edge and not seen a massive pile of garbage. Up Tomki there’s a goddamn school bus a ways down off the side of the road, although it looks like it’s been there a few decades. Either way, to the commenter that says it’s “too expensive” to dispose of your trash, I say “too bad”. If you can generate the trash, you can dispose of it responsibly. Back when I used to commute from Ukiah to Anderson Valley, I saw a woman dumping her garbage noe half a mile from the dump. Not stopping and taking a photo is a regret that still boehrs me over a decade later.

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MendoFever Staff
MendoFever Staff
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