OAKLAND -- Between abandoned cars, trash, and other debris, illegal dumping is a major problem plaguing many of the neighborhoods in Oakland's flatlands.
For many residents, the situation has reached a boiling point. They say the rampant illegal dumping is putting people in danger.
"It's invading my ability to feel safe and walk down clean streets," said Mary Forte, an Oakland native. "Get the trash out of Oakland."
Forte and other locals will meet with elected and appointed leaders on Monday evening to ask them to call for a state of emergency, along with an immediate strategy to deal with the trash and abandoned cars that are left in their neighborhoods.
"It's an equity issue. There are parts of Oakland that are beautiful and are kept clean," Forte said. "You wouldn't see this up around the Mormon temple. You wouldn't see this up in Rockridge. You wouldn't see this in Montclair. You don't see it in those neighborhoods. But it's tolerated here."
Cherie Woods, another frustrated area resident, says the illegal dumping runs down neighborhoods.
"Why do we have to walk by this? Why do the kids from high school have to walk through this? This makes no sense," she said.
She will be at the meeting and hopes it brings them a step closer to a real solution.
"How do we rectify this issue? How do we take care of this problem? How do we assist the city of Oakland?" Woods said. "Let's not make this an 18-month process. Let's get this done in 90 days."
Woods says the problem isn't new. It ramped up about 5 years ago and got worse over the course of the pandemic.
"Why do we have to walk by this? Why do the kids from high school have to walk through this? This makes no sense," she said. "We don't have to live like this. We didn't live like this up until about five years ago."
Earlier this year, Oakland took a step to try and address the issue by installing 10 cameras at illegal dumping hotspots. Officials cycled them into different areas over the course of six months, to try and catch people in the act.
But these women say that isn't enough of a solution.
"We don't need 10 cameras, we need hundreds of cameras," Forte said.
To Forte, the illegal dumping isn't just an eye sore.
"Grime is related to crime," she said. "The amount of illegal dumping and nastiness also happens to be where the majority of the crime is today – shootings, burglaries, people getting stopped at gunpoint – it happens in these same neighborhoods that are so filthy."
The meeting is happening at 6:30 p.m. via Zoom Monday night. KPIX 5 reached out to the city of Oakland for comment ahead of the meeting, but did not get a response.
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