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'It's ugly and I hate it': Businesses illegally dumping trash near Portland sanctioned homeless village

Those who live at Dignity Village, a sanctioned homeless community near NE 33rd Drive, say local businesses are dumping used materials and trash near the property.

PORTLAND, Ore. — A sanctioned homeless village in Portland is dealing with construction companies illegally dumping trash at the site, according to those who live at the village. 

Metro and those who live at Dignity Village are working long hours to clean it all up, but they told KGW the problem just keeps getting worse. 

"t's ugly and I hate it. I hate driving by all the mess," said Lisa Larson, Dignity Village's outreach coordinator. 

Dignity Village is a self-governed homeless community that's been here for two decades. 

"Everybody likes to have a nice clean neighborhood," said Larson, who lives at Dignity Village. "To have the garbage out here it just doesn't feel good."

She said the illegal trash dumping got worse during the pandemic. She described a truck full of household garbage dumped right outside the village. 

"Then the wild animals get into it and spread it every where," she added. 

Those at the village, like Frank Forbes, spend hours cleaning it up.

"It's terrible but somebody's got to do it," Forbes said. "It's frustrating. We see a lot of it and you kind of put a dent in it and then you drive by a couple days later and it's just as bad. It's a revolving process."

RELATED: Metro gets extra $10 million in state funding to address Portland area's trash problem

Metro cleans up the trash around the village once a month although, Metro says, illegal trash dumping is happening all over the city.

"Anytime you see a bunch of tires or a couple mattresses or sofas on the side of the road, somebody made the choice to leave that on the side of the road instead of taking it to a dump transfer station," said Nick Christensen, spokesperson for Metro.

"We're trying to do our best to keep up with that around the region," he said. "We're picking up three and a half tons of garbage every day on average."

Dignity Village is organizing a sting operation to catch whoever is dumping trash in their backyard.

"I think it's a great thing," said Larson. "Anything to stop the excess garbage from being dropped out here."

Those at Metro said everyone must play their part in keeping Portland clean. They're asking anyone who sees illegal trash dumping — things like mattresses or tires on the side of the road — to call them and they’ll clean it up in three days.    

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