PORTLAND, Ore. — A Northeast Portland man, dedicated to picking up litter around the city, said he’s having trouble finding a place to dump it all.
Blaine Tyler, 70, always carries a trash picker and folding cart in his car trunk, in case he sees a littered area that needs attention. It’s a habit he developed over 35 years as a Portland Police officer.
“I would fit it in between calls,” said Tyler, who retired from the police bureau four years ago.
“Many was the day I would have two or three bags in the trunk of my patrol car going up to [Portland Bureau of Transportation] on North Kerby and chucking them into the dumpster there.”
Tyler said PBOT had given him permission.
“They were only too happy,” Tyler said. “They are under the gun cleaning up the major areas, so it was not unusual to see me yarding in a discarded mattress in the trunk of my car.”
Now a private citizen, Tyler said PBOT won't let him dump the litter he collects in their dumpster anymore.
“They said they were dealing with a lot of transient camp clean-ups that were occupying a lot of their space,” Tyler said. He said a lot of the litter he picks up comes from areas around transient camps.
“I thought we could work around that, but I gave up being Don Quixote a long time ago, I don't tilt at the windmill anymore,” Tyler said. “I just try to find an alternative … I haven't able to find one, yet.”
PBOT spokesperson Dylan Rivera said the city offers several options for campsite trash collection, including pickups at campsites. Rivera said people can also request a pickup from One Point of Contact by going to PDXReporter.org or calling 503-823-4000.
Tyler said those are great options for people dealing specifically with campsite cleanups, but they don’t meet his need to dispose of litter he collects all around the city’s eastside.
“There's a big auto cushion sitting out there. Where do you put it? I can't fit it in my garbage can,” Tyler said.
Tyler does fit as much litter as he’s able to into his personal garbage can — after sorting out recyclable materials first.
“You can only do so much with a couple rolling cans,” he said.
Tyler said he hoped city officials would reconsider helping him help the city. He said access to one of their dumpsters would enable him to continue collecting and disposing of the litter he picks up — sometimes 10 bags a week.
“If they could be assured of the fact that I wasn't going to take advantage of this,” Tyler said. “We’re all in this together.”