Photo by Ric Bellizi, used with permission.
Is the system broken? We have received numerous complaints about the lack of enforcement for illegal dumping and the failure of the City’s Department of Public Works to respond in a timely fashion (current response time is more than 30 days). Surely the increased call volume for service requests keeps RPD and DPW busy. However, does the average citizen know how to report an issue for effective response? We tell them “if you see something, say something.”
After calls from neighbors of Peyton Avenue who informed me that they had reported illegal dumping to the Richmond Police Department and 311, I visited the alley on August 2. I logged 7 SeeClickFix cases for bulk pick-ups and illegal dumping. The bulk pick-ups were behind residential houses and appeared to be yard debris and furniture. The illegal dumping reported more than 8 locations where dozens of tires had been brought to the alley and illegally disposed. I also contacted the Richmond Police Lieutenant for the Sector and reported the illegal dumping.
Wanting to improve her community, one concerned neighbor informed me that she had loaded a pile of the tires in her truck to deliver to the Southside refuse center on Hopkins Road but was only allowed to dump four tires. She then asked other vehicles in line to take up to four tires to dump until her truck was empty. The effort of this good Samaritan was met with resistance since there is a formal policy at DPW regarding tire disposal. As such it appears the piles of tires in the alley between Wythemar and Roanoke Street behind Peyton Avenue were going to stay put as citizens were unable to help themselves to remove the unwanted blight.
On August 7, several of the SeeClickFix cases I reported were CLOSED because Code Enforcement “is incapable of assigning an inspector to an area that is not connected with a parcel address. Please call our office…” What? A phone call revealed that SeeClickFix reports of Illegal Dumping are not being handled by RPD instead through Code Enforcement but only on private property and not in the public right-of-way. Illegal dumping on city-owned property becomes a bulk puck-up request for DPW to send a crew to retrieve. Now the tires in the alley enter the 30-day backlog of requests with apparently no attempt to fine or arrest anyone associated with the dumping.
With such a large backlog of bulk & brush requests, citizens continue to call and report the issues. They continue to ask for assistance from city leaders. Sometimes, they organize a community clean-up through the Clean City Commission or simply contact the media as the bully pulpit. This again requires DPW to respond with resources – often paying overtime to meet this excessive demand. Could DPW have solved its own problem by accepting the tires at the local refuse center thus eliminating the roundabout that ultimately cost them and frustrated citizens? Seems like a viscous loop with no good solution.
“If you see something, say something.” That’s the message of community policing but it needs to be reinforced in all departments of City government. Citizens need to inform the Richmond Police Department that you will testify in court when you witness the incident. City DPW staff need to look for items and respond to them when they see it so that we reduce mobilizing other staff to the same area. If we don’t change the condition, we can’t solve the problem. We’re only inviting more bad behavior, forcing larger backlogs, slower response times, or higher taxes.
Fortunately, in the instance reported above a community clean-up is scheduled for this Saturday, August 23, from 8:00 am to 12:00 noon. Meet at George Wythe High School. Oregon Hill and Randolph are also hosting clean-ups on Saturday, August 23, from 8:00 am to 12:00 noon. Meet up at S. Laurel Street at Albemarle or 1401 Grayland Avenue.
This Wednesday is a red Wednesday, which means trash and recycling pickup. Please make sure you pick up containers after pickup tomorrow night. They do not belong on the sidewalk after tomorrow night.
In order to take your recycling to the next level, read this: 10 ways to improve your recycling.
Alright, VCU students, let’s talk cans. First of all, you can get paid for collecting and turning in your aluminum cans. And restricted supply to keep aluminum prices elevated in Q3 2014, says the headline. Lately, that means around .50 to .55 for a pound of aluminum cans. A 16 gallon bag of cans gets you around $5. You can turn your nose up if you want, but that means pocket money for (more) beer. Personally, I go right across the Lee Bridge to Pocket Money Recycling to turn my cans in, but certainly there are other places around town.
And there are good reasons to recycle aluminum cans:
So, please, recycle your cans, don’t just throw them away in your trash.
From email announcement:
William Byrd Community House welcomes you to Byrd House Market! Visit the WBCH tent – We’re Growing Richmond’s Kids – Smart, Strong, Self-confident!
Ready for School. Ready for Life. WBCH.org
GOT A FAVORITE VENDOR?
CHECK THE MARKET MAP
All 4 food groups are in season at Byrd House Market: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner & Dessert!
Engages youth and adults in the building of neighborhood parks, gardens and greenways, and in green-centric educational programs.
Richmond Public Library
Main Branch Children’s Librarian Beth Morris reads to kids under the Mulberry Tree, 4-5 pm.
Nathan Hess Acoustic
Singer/songwriter Nathan Hess returns to reprise of his debut performance at Byrd House Market, 4:30-6:30 pm.
SNAP @ THE MARKET
Use Your Credit, Debit or SNAP EBT Cards!
Who uses SNAP? Everyone! Students. Parents. Employees. Employers. Grammies and Grampies. Executives, Nurses, Mechanics & Teachers, too. Using SNAP at your farmers market ensures high quality, nutrient dense foods at a time when you probably need it most!
The $10 Student Deal is now for
Faculty and Staff, too!
Show your University ID to a participating vendor (Agriberry, Origins Farm, The Byrd Farm, Epic Gardens, Tomten Farm) and ask about their deal of the day!
for directions and more.
Event Description Learn to dance (individual or group classes) and have a fun aerobic workout! Every Wednesday in August.
Event Date 8/20/14
Event Time 6:00 PM – 8:15 PM
Event Address 101 E. Franklin Street Richmond, VA
Event Directions / Parking
Event Price FREE
Event Phone 804-646-7223
Open to the Public Yes
Posting Organization Richmond Public Library
The recent racial conflict in Ferguson, Missouri is a reminder of some of the darker periods of racism in Oregon Hill about 30 years ago (see clipping of article below from The Richmond Afro-American Planet newspaper). Thankfully, in this aspect, the neighborhood has changed since then. This ugly past contrasts with more heroic history.
Local activists are organizing in response to events in Ferguson, Missouri. There is a protest march planned this afternoon in Monroe Park at 4:30 pm. According to the FaceBook event page, ‘Operation:Injustice’ will go from Monroe Park (between West Franklin, Belvidere, West Main, and Laurel Streets) to the John Marshall Courts Building (400 North 9th Street). A rally with speakers will take place at the courts building.
Local poets Sudan Aunu, Bryant Munford, and others will be speaking.
In the background of this event are concerns about the future of Monroe Park under its new Conservancy.
DESTRUCTION PROPERTY/PRIVATE PROPERTY
1XX S PINE ST
Aug 15, 2014 at 12:01 pm
Data provided by Richmond Police Department