OAKLAND (KPIX 5) – Residents in East and West Oakland are fed up with their streets being used as public dumping grounds.
It’s a perennial problem. Along with trees and mattresses being dumped, dog feces was left in front of a school for five days.
Twenty-four hours later, people in an East Oakland neighborhood held their noses after an RV released a trail of human waste down their block. Public works, they claimed, rarely responds to their reports.
Irene Galloway, who lives in the neighborhood, said, “We pay taxes and all that and they don’t care.”
“We are taking this very seriously. This is one of our top priorities,” said Sheng Thao, chief of staff of Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan, who heads the Public Works Committee. “It’s inappropriate for human waste or feces to be on the street or anywhere near where people live.”
Thao says there’s a reason public works has struggled to respond quickly to illegal dumping reports: an aging fleet of dump trucks.
“They were breaking down. They were older trucks breaking down,” Thao said.
On Tuesday, Kaplan pushed through a plan to buy or lease at least one new dump truck as quickly as possible. The city will buy three others down the road.
Also, instead of dummy cameras posted in dumping hotspots, working cameras.
“High resolution cameras so we can actually have the evidence to go after these people who are illegal dumping,” Thao said.
The city has also given the green light to a reward program that gives whistleblowers cash for reporting illegal dumping. It’s not clear when that new dump truck will come in. city officials hope to have a timeline by December.