• Illegal dumping 'out of hand' in South Sound, residents say

    By: Shelby Miller


    Stacked tires, dead Christmas trees, shopping carts and more are dumped on a vacant east Tacoma property on Golden Given Road.

    "It's just an eyesore and it's getting worse and worse and worse,” said resident William Randon.

    Randon said the piles of trash are drawing in rodents that end up in his yard. His neighbor, Sarah Johnson, is tired of it too.

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    “It's frustrating as a property owner across the street. Our taxes keep going up and they keep saying my property value is going up, but I have this garbage dump across the street and I'm pretty sure if I tried to sell my house that'd be a factor in it,” said Johnson.

    When trash is dumped on private property, it becomes the property owner's responsibility.

    The problem is becoming more and more common in Pierce County.

    A few blocks away, there’s a ditched mattress and couch on the side of the road. Earlier this month, someone left a load of construction materials at a church in Graham.

    Detectives said there are a few factors at play.

    "First, you have the homeless encampments and people that are living transient that don't clean up their messes,” said Detective Ed Troyer, of the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department. "Then, you have people who pay to have their trash and their garbage taken away and the second person who takes it goes and dumps it illegally on a piece of property and they don't even know it until we're knocking on their door. Third, we just have people dump trash somewhere where they think they can get away with it."

    Neighbors said the person who owns the empty Tacoma lot lives out of the area. He's paid to clean it up, put up signs and a fence, but the illegal dumping doesn't stop.

    "It's just really just unscrupulous behavior and it's really disgusting,” said Johnson.

    Investigators will look through trash for personal information to tie people to the crime. If caught, they’ll face fines and be responsible for the cleanup.

    If someone dumps trash on your property, you can apply for a litter credit. In some cases, Pierce County will pay to dispose of up to 2,000 pounds of solid waste if you are the victim of illegal dumping.

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