EUGENE, Ore. — The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) started the clean-up process in the west Eugene wetlands on Thursday. Crews got started a day late, but didn’t lose any time trying to get things ready for restoration.
Crews are hoping to clear out about 40 different campsites within the next two weeks. Clean-up was in full operation by early afternoon and crews were busy picking up and pushing out all the mess left behind from illegal campers.
Propane tanks, left-over food, discarded wallets, a University of Oregon student ID and even needles were just some of the many items sifted through that made BLM representatives question what went on there and glad it’s not an issue now. And though it can be a little noisy, nearby residents said it’s a welcomed change from what they’re used to.
“It goes through waves when there’s really nice people here and all of a sudden there aren’t. For the past week and a half, there’s been people screaming and yelling, trying to kill each other in the middle of the night. We have a six-year-old daughter and she’s scared,” said resident Thomas Drew.
Drew also said he and his neighbors are looking forward to being able to roam the area free of garbage and fear. And the BLM hopes the clean-up will help keep it that way.
“By cleaning this out and reestablishing the natural area, it won’t be such an attractive place for people to engage in illegal activity such as camping,” said Public Affairs Officer Michael Mascari.
The BLM said it will also continue to have law enforcement regularly sweep the area for violators.
Mascari said, “I don’t expect we’ll get much in the way of repeat offenders anymore.”
Restoration should take about another two weeks or so and despite the delayed clean-up, the BLM said it still expects to meet its August 29th deadline.