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Dumping on Marmion Way: Who's Responsible?

"The magnitude of dumping and accumulated trash along Marmion Way north of Museum Drive to Monte Vista is appalling," according to ASNC member Ann Walnum.

"The magnitude of dumping and accumulated trash along Marmion Way north of Museum Drive to Monte Vista is appalling."

An item on the Arroyo Seco Neighborhrood Council Agenda, penned by member, Ann Walnum, begins with that sentence.

Dumping along Marmion Way has been a problem for years, Walnum explained, and appears to be caused many culprits.

During a recent cleanup event in Cypress Park, Walnum said she asked to be assigned to "the worst area possible." She ended walking along the long stretch of Mount Washington Road, where she discovered couches, piles of discarded trash, human waste and a bag containing a decomposing house pet.

Appalling indeed.

During Monday evening's ASNC meeting, Walnum distributed a sign-up sheet for a cleanup event scheduled to be held sometime in the next month. Walnum is notoriously anti-Internet, so signing up online is not a possibility. However, I've volunteered my services, and will get the word out via Patch as soon as I know the time and date.

Walnum said a previous cleanup even was held about 10-years-ago, in cooperation with then-newly elected CD 1 Councilman Ed Reyes.

However, like most cleanups, the rewards of participating were limited to the satisfaction of a good deed done and the sight of a temporarily clean stretch of roadside.

As ASNC board member Jerry Schneider put it: "That, of course, is temporal."

What, then, are some potential long-term solutions to dumping and littering along Marmion Way?

The board suggested a few on Monday evening.

Establish a "Clean Team"

Hermon already has one. The Hermon Clean Team meets on a regular basis to pick up litter, paint over graffiti and to do some light landscaping work. The Hermon Clean Team even got together in January to help that had been the source of several board of health complaints.

Could a Clean Team be the answer to littering problems on Marmion Way?

Improved City Services

Marmion Way is split between two city council districts, with Councilman José Huizar representing the north "mountain side" of the road, and Councilman Ed Reyes representing south "railroad tracks" side of road.

Walnum said she spoek to Kai Newkirk, Huizar's Mount Washington field representative, who helped to get some of the larger items removed from the side of the road. 

"I talked to a rep three times and I think he's succeeded in picking up some of the bulky items and the larger trash bags," Walnum said. "So it's a little better this week than it was last week."

Raphael Guerin, of the ASNC, said locals needed to get a committment from the the department of sanitation to remove large items on a weekly basis.

"It's imperative to get a commitment from sanitation to go by there at least once a week," Guerin said. "Because it is just constant, it's not going away.

ASNC member Roy Payan said improved code enforcement was also needed, especially on the railroad track side of the road where much of the land is owned by a single property owner.

"I appreciate the cleanups, I think they're good," Payan said. "But, someone's gotta get on the property owner. There's code enforcement that's got to be followed."

Install a Fence

Guerin said that, given the city's ever-shrinking budget, the liklihood of improved city services was small. However, he said it may be possible to encourage the city to invest in installing a chainlink fence along the roadway, which is a falling rock area. 

The fence would not deter people from throwing trash out their windows, but it would make it far more difficult for people to leave large items along the roadside.

"I don't know how it's going to look aesthetically, but you could put a chain link fence all the way across. Because when it rains, that is a falling rock area," Guerin said. "That is one way to get budgeted to turn around and do that. That would eliminate people dumping couches and other large items. How that would look aesthetically is another story. But, the budgeting to get that done should be not such a dramatic test, because of the fact that things fall in inclement weather."

What do you think? What is the best way to handle littering along Marmion Way? Take our Facebook poll and tell us in the comments.

David Fonseca (Editor) August 23, 2011 at 10:56 PM
Personally, I think a Clean Team would be a fine idea, and would volunteer my time even though I live further east on Figueroa. However, I don't think it would be fair for the city to completely abdicate responsibility to keep the area clean--especially when it comes to large items.
Nimby pimp August 23, 2011 at 11:19 PM
Insist on a response from local elected officials. I call 311 and post notices on the Street Services website about once a month to report illegal dumping on this stretch. The response time is highly inconsistent. I do occasionally alert both Reyes and Huizar's office to the problem. Staffers need to be reminded but they do come through occasionally.
Mad Man August 24, 2011 at 03:52 PM
Here's the deal folks. We have an ally over here in HIFI that is full of garbage large and small. We and dozens of the neighbors have called city services via 311 for months now to address the issue. But here's the thing; They have 20 people in the department and 2 trucks but when Villairagosa became mayor there were 200 people. He gutted the department. Now they have 500 ally's that are on their list or have be requested cleared by communities. They can never catch up and are supremely frustrated by these cuts. Call your council office. This is the kind of blight that brings down a whole areas. Villariagosa is to blame and the council for approving these cuts.
Marino August 24, 2011 at 05:17 PM
Whenever I call for bulky items on my street the city has been very prompt. I think it's lack of education. Trash cans should have big stickers explaining that you don't need to find a vacant lot to dump your mattress, the city will pick it up if you call 1-800-773-2489 . There is a homeless camp down by the railway tracks with tent-mansions. A fence wouldn't keep the homeless away. A fence wouldn't keep the trash away either unless it was smack against the curb which would eliminate the sidewalk/foot path to the Metro station. Perhaps the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy should buy the lot from the owner. It's a beautiful area for a park. Or he should be given some incentives to develop it which I know sounds complicated. A quick temporary development could be veggie gardens on the lower level by the railway tracks and farmer stands on the street level.
ChickenBoyFan August 25, 2011 at 01:44 AM
I am happy to see this problematic area addressed. Trash can stickers are a great idea, Perhaps an aggressive campaign, mounted by the city to inform people that dumping is a big no-no, with consequences. Unfortunately, unless laws are enforced, it may not do much good. There was once talk of a huge community garden, which would run along side the site. Wouldn't that be marvelous? It is a beautiful stretch of road.
Nimby pimp August 25, 2011 at 04:31 PM
1n 1964, LBJ launched a well-funded, nationwide educational campaign against littering. Before that time, Americans were more casual about throwing their trash into the street. Regrettably many of the new residents of our city, especially Latin Americans, have not yet been educated to put trash in its proper place. It is high time for an aggressive Spanish-language campaign on the virtues of the trash can and municipal dump.
Resident August 27, 2011 at 03:14 AM
This isn't "uneducated" or "new" residents. I have seen hauling companies bring their trucks and dump things on this stretch of the road. The main problem is people trying to make a buck and little enforcement. Next time you see someone dumping take a photo with your cell phone, and get their license plate too.
ChickenBoyFan August 27, 2011 at 03:22 PM
Hauling "companies"? Do you mean those guys that have a home made sign on their panel trucks? I seriously doubt a reputable hauling company would be dumping dead dogs, motor oil bottles,fast food trash, and the kind of small unbagged items thrown out there. I drive by every day. The best resort is to call CD1. 311 is not as effective as it used to be. Signage in both English and Spanish would certainly be a good idea.
Brian Tomikawa September 03, 2011 at 10:13 PM
I regularly run and ride my bike along Marmion Way. I think the walking path there is a weedy trail (often I rather run in the street). As my son says it looks like a place one would dump trash. I have always felt it was promising, however. You could put a nice walking/running path there, mile markers and a bike path in the street. You could even plant shade trees and native plants. There are not enough recreational areas & places to exercise in our neighborhood. We also need to encourage alternative transportation such as walking & cycling. I want a nice connecting way to Pasadena. I think a model street is Arroyo Rd in Pasadena, where people love to bicycle & run. By increasing traffic through this area people take more pride in ownership, protect the areas they live in & are less likely to dump,

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