Fed-up Pearl District seniors remove homeless trash

"We have a resident uprising saying: 'We're taking back our neighborhood'"

Senior residents of the Pearl District clean up trash, August 8 2017. (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A group of seniors were so fed up with trash in the Pearl District that they gathered and cleaned it up themselves on Tuesday.

“We have a resident uprising saying: ‘We’re taking back our neighborhood,'” Marge Gerimonte tells KOIN 6 News.

Marge Gerimonte is among the Pearl District residents who cleaned up blocks of trash left by homeless campers, August 8, 2017 (KOIN)
Marge Gerimonte is among the Pearl District residents who cleaned up blocks of trash left by homeless campers, August 8, 2017 (KOIN)

Gerimonte and the others say the street behind their building on NW 9th Avenue and Lovejoy Street has filled up with trash from nearby homeless camps. They reached a breaking point.

“It just got overbearing over the weekend, we couldn’t walk out here at all,” Gerimonte says.

The group ended up collecting 17 bags worth of trash. They found cans, clothes, and even two children’s car seats that had been abandoned.

A Pearl District resident cleans trash left by homeless campers, August 8, 2017 (KOIN)
A Pearl District resident cleans trash left by homeless campers, August 8, 2017 (KOIN)

“There’s one bag that’s just almost all needles,” Gerimonte says.

But the group is concerned that the trash bags won’t be picked up before people dig through them and make a new mess. KOIN 6 News tried to help find a company to collect them but didn’t have any luck.

Transit Police even swung by during the cleanup and thanked the group but said they can’t do much to prevent it from happening again.