PORTLAND -- There's a nasty crime happening all over Portland: Crooks are leaving behind piles of trash, tires, sofas and construction material.
Last year alone, there were almost 2,000 illegal dump sites in the Portland area.
"If we didn't clean these up, a lot of them would just grow and get bigger," said Tiffany Gates, Assistant Solid Waste Planner for Metro. "For some reason, if you leave a sofa on the corner then someone adds a chair, adds a bag of trash and pretty soon you've got a mess that no one wants."
Metro's Regional Illegal Dumping Patrol is the only program of its kind in the U.S. The RID Patrol tracks illegal dump sites and then goes after whoever is leaving the mess.
Watch: Surveillance video of illegal dumping
Multnomah County Sheriff's Deputy Geoff Williams oversees the jail inmates who clean up dump sites.
"It's interesting how many things you'll find," Williams said. "We'll break down a sofa and you'll find somebody's bill, an electric bill."
If RID Patrol finds a name connected to the garbage, they'll pass it along to the unit's detective. It is his job to track down the illegal dumpers and cite them.
Citizens can also report illegal dump sites by filling out an online form with Metro. Penalties include a fine of up to $2,000.
People trying to get rid of old junk are encouraged to call the Metro Recycling Hotline at 503-234-3000 for more information on the legal options. Additional information is also available online.
Here is a list of the most active illegal dump sites in the Portland area in 2013:
- NE Grand & NE Lloyd (53 incidents)
- SE 85th & SE Insley (21 incidents)
- SE Cooper & SE 65th (19 incidents)
- SE 110th Ave. & SE Knapp St. (18 incidents)
- SE Clinton & SE 84th Ave (18 incidents)
- San Rafael St. & 192nd Ave (17 incidents)
- SE Romona & SE 65th Ave (16 incidents)
- N. Watts St. & Albina Ave (12 incidents)
- N. Emerson St. & N. Moore St. (11 incidents)
- SE Adler St. & SE 84th Ave. (11 incidents)
More info: Metro RID Patrol