Trash piling up in the University District



Posted on September 3, 2010 at 5:40 PM

SEATTLE - Homeowner Pat Bluemel says his idyllic neighborhood looks more like a dump these days. It's gotten so ridiculous he takes pictures so friends don't think he's exaggerating.

"In a 10-block radius, from 45th to 55th, we counted 15 discarded couches," he said.

There's also soiled mattresses, old TVs, open trash and even clothes.

"It's kind of frustrating for me as I pay my property taxes and such that I'm cleaning up everybody's junk," he said.

Those "everybodies" are university students who move in for one year and are out the next.

"They just probably think if they leave it here it's not their problem anymore," says University of Washington senior Claire Welly.

Welly may be right. John Sherburn has lived here for 10 years and every year he's forced to clean up what someone else dumped on his property, and that's not all.

"Stuff like TV sets the kids will come by and they're a little drunk and they'll just pick it up and break it for no reason," he said.

The city tells us it has cracked down on this type of behavior, sending enforcement officers this time of year to cite people who dump.

But landlord Gerry Goldman says the whole process is flawed, because it's hard to catch people in the act.

"I resent the fact that the city makes us responsible for what other people do," said Goldman.

So as an owner, Goldman is forced to pay the fine or get movers to haul away the trash.

" We the tax payers foot the bill for those pieces that are left out on the street," he said.

Bluemel says he's worried less about the cost, and more about what this says about this generation.

"It kind of concerns me about future leaders, that they can just discard things and move on."

The city says the dumping is happening earlier than usual this year, but this is nothing new. They plan however, to talk to the University about better ways to encourage students to dump the right way.

The City of Seattle encourages residents to call in illegal dumping at 206-684-CITY.