SALT LAKE CITY — Neighbors along Salt Lake City’s northwestern boundary are upset about large piles of branches, garbage and discarded couches along their street, after an apparent “miscommunication” involving the city’s neighborhood cleanup program.
“You can see we’ve got several sets of furniture people have dumped,” said Gayle Jensen, standing along a stretch of 2200 West across from her house. “Looking down the road, you’ll see several mattresses.”
Concrete mix, shampoo, wrapping paper and even a toilet were also spotted Monday in the various garbage piles on 2200 West between roughly 2600 North and 3300 North.
Jensen and other neighbors said they had been told by Salt Lake City workers that neighborhood cleanup — which includes the collection of “bulky items” and yard waste — would take place Aug. 4.
Three weeks later, the garbage piles remain and have been growing. Neighbors said they had witnessed numerous people recently drive into the area and dump various items.
“I guess they don’t want to go to the dump — they consider this the dump now,” Jensen said. “When they saw that nothing was being picked up, people just decided it was a dumping ground — they could keep dumping out here for free.”
"I guess they don't want to go to the dump — they consider this the dump now. When they saw that nothing was being picked up, people just decided it was a dumping ground — they could keep dumping out here for free."
A KSL camera Monday afternoon caught what appeared to be construction workers leaving garbage and a tarp at the side of the road near 2200 West and 3300 North.
“Part of this is mine over here, but most of it is random people coming and dropping their own stuff down here,” said Stephan Fullmer, another resident.
Fullmer and Jensen said neighborhood cleanups had taken place in past years with no problems, but Salt Lake City sanitation operations director Art Valente characterized the situation Monday as a “miscommunication.”
Valente said some residents called in this year and were given a cleanup date, but most of the homes on the street sit outside of city boundaries and do not receive city services.
The city, according to Valente, has recently been working with county officials and the Salt Lake County Health Department to see what can be done to fix the problem.
Valente said the city was hoping to “take action” beginning Wednesday to haul away the junk.
He acknowledged the city and county needed to find a way to monitor the area for illegal dumping.
Longtime resident Glen “Mack” Zahler said the street always looks “bad” prior to the cleanup, but said he didn’t mind the process and the mess.
“I have to tell you the truth — I look forward to it,” Zahler said. “Because look at the stuff it gets. And every year it looks about the same. So, you can imagine the stuff that people are hoarding in their backyards.”