Heroin needles, piles of trash fill Olympia space near three schools

Pictures of a South Sound trail filled with used heroin needles, trash and stolen items caught the attention of thousands on Facebook.

The man who posted the pictures is calling for action.

“There’s tents back here, stolen mail, tons of garbage, heroin needles, there’s used condoms. It’s pretty terrible,” said Harrison Buck.

Buck’s been trying to clean the space for more than a year. He lives down the road from the site, which sits off Division Street Northwest and Harrison Avenue Northwest. It’s also less than a mile from three schools.

Even Buck was shocked by some of the stuff he saw.

“Those are chicken breasts rotting onto heroin needles, so you can get salmonella and AIDS,” he said.

KIRO 7 took pictures of the site to Olympia’s Homeless Response Coordinator.

“It’s extremely concerning to see. I think that’s an ugly face of homelessness,” said Colin DeForrest.

DeForrest said there are more than 500 homeless people living in Olympia and the number continues to grow.

The city is taking steps downtown by building a mitigation site, but on the outskirts the problem is getting worse, especially on sites that are privately owned.

“The tough thing is that costs a lot of money. It’s not just cleaning up a pile of garbage, that’s hazardous materials, so that’s a hazmat clean up,” said DeForrest.

DeForrest called the site a public health and safety issue. He said he plans to reach out to the property owner. He said something has to be done.

“Simply doing nothing, doing nothing with the site you just showed me, that only gets us more of it,” said DeForrest.

Buck agrees, which is why he said he’ll continue to clean the spot up, but he said the mess is more than he can handle.

“I feel like if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem. I see this as a mess and I want to clean it up,” he said. “This is a bigger issue than people can solve. We need a bulldozer and a dumpster.”

Community groups gathered Thursday to clean up trash at the site. There is another clean up planned for Saturday at noon.

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