CLACKAMAS COUNTY, Ore. (KOIN) — The Pacific Northwest has a lot of public forest land for people to use for hiking and camping, but unfortunately it seems many people also use it to dump their trash.
A Clackamas County program aims to clean up natural areas that have become almost like dumps with all the trash people leave there.
Dave Chase and the Clackamas County Dump Stoppers have been cleaning up all kinds of trash for quite some time.
“We cover 790,000 acres and as far as the number of dump sites it’s immeasurable,” Chase said.
They’ve disposed of more than 940,000 pounds of solid waste, over 9,000 tires, 470 abandoned or stolen vehicles and just about 9,000 pounds of hazardous waste from forested lands in Clackamas County.
“We’ve seen absolutely everything,” Chase said. “Furniture, the TVs, the pictures on the wall, the children’s toys — all of it loaded and dumped into one spot.”
The Dump Stoppers even cleaned up 1,200 pounds of used diapers.
“That was interesting,” Chase said. “Not many people go for a drive with 1,200 pounds of used diapers in the car but one person did and left it in the forest for us all to enjoy.”
Sheriff Rick Hilton of Clackamas County works with the Dump Stoppers to help with cleanup and issue civil citations.
“The rate goes from $750 to $3,500,” Hilton said. “I go up and patrol the forest looking for dump sites. I try to find out who did. If there is evidence, I’ll go through it and try to figure out the people.”
“It doesn’t matter what you use the forest for. Whatever you bring up with you just take it back home with you,” Hilton said.
And they’ll continue — as Chase puts it — cleaning up after adults.