• Reports of illegal dumping rise dramatically in Seattle

    By: Graham Johnson

    Updated:

    SEATTLE - John Wright's surveillance video shows a four-door pickup pulling up Saturday night outside his West Seattle home.

    Two men got out and unloaded old white wooden benches.

    Then they took off.

    "It's just disrespectful to the neighborhood," Wright said. "This is four times for us actually in this exact spot over the last nine years."

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    Reports of illegal dumping in Seattle jumped 75 percent in 2015 over the same period in 2014.

    City officials don't think illegal dumping is actually on the rise.

    They say people are reporting it more, sending in photos with the popular "Find it, Fix it" app.

    "We rely heavily on our customers to be stewards of the community," said Idris Beauregard, who manages the illegal dumping and graffiti programs for Seattle Public Utilities.

    The department is scrambling to keep up with the increase in reports.

    SPU has two illegal dumping inspectors, who must visit each site.

    Then, an inmate crew from the Department of Corrections picks up the junk.

    Because of the workload, it can now sit uncollected for a month.

    "Hopefully we're going to see a decline in that," Beauregard said.

    SPU plans to improve tracking and dispatching for illegal dumping in 2016.

    In the meantime, Wright wonders why people just don't haul their stuff to the transfer station.

    Looking at his surveillance video, he remarked, "Nice enough vehicle that they can afford 30 bucks and just take care of it properly. It's just frustrating."

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