by Travis Mateer
I took this picture of an abandoned “urban camping” site last April. This area is now getting some new attention from a group focusing on cleaning up sites like this. From the link:
The Deep Creek area on Southside Road next to the Clark Fork River is a popular area for recreationists, but over the decades people have been leaving a lot more behind than they take out.
Luke Jovin and Gennadiy Lemeza co-founded the nonprofit Woods Not Waste a few years ago after getting fed up with always seeing trash piles in the forests where they hang out. In 2020, they collected 17,000 pounds of trash from natural areas and got it to the landfill. Rotten mattresses, stoves, thousands of bottles and cans and discarded appliances have all been removed.
Luke and Gennadiy seem nice enough, but their rationale for starting this nonprofit shows how naive they are. Here’s more (emphasis mine):
“We actually started Woods Not Waste to address the initial problem because we figured that if people are dumping, you know, it’s probably because they can’t afford to take it to the landfill in the first place,” Jovin explained. “So our initial idea for the nonprofit was to be able to find and help people take their stuff to the landfill, which we still do and has been beneficial to people.”
While a few pieces of trash in this area MAY have been dumped because of landfill affordability, I’d say the vast majority of this problem is from illegal camps where the people give ZERO FUCKS about the impacts to the land around them.
Another nice thing is how Republic is being OH SO NICE to let this trash get dumped FOR FREE! Boy, I sure would have liked that price-point instead of being charged over $1,200 dollars for MY meth shack removal that removed 2.84 TONS of trash before the spring run-off put it all in the river.
Now, how about that DOOM LOOP WALKING TOUR in San Francisco?
As you can see, this is a SOLD OUT event, which is too bad, because it sounds like a FUN TIME! From the link:
You’ve read the headlines, you’ve seen the Tweets, now get close and personal to the Doom and Squalor of downtown San Francisco! How can a city with a $14.6 billion annual budget be a model of urban decay?
How can it spend $776.8 million per year on police and have no rule of law to show for it? How can it spend $690 million on homeless services and receive an official United Nations condemnation for its treatment of the homeless (“cruel and inhuman”; “violation of multiple human rights”)?
The tour will start at City Hall, and continue through Mid-Market, the Tenderloin, and Union Square. We will view the open-air drug markets, the abandoned tech offices, the outposts of the non-profit industrial complex, and the deserted department stores.
Discover the policy choices that made America’s wealthiest city the nation’s innovative leader of housing crisis, addiction crisis, mental-health crisis, & unrepentant crime crisis.
You will find no better expert. Your guide is an urban policy professional, card-carrying City Commissioner overseeing a municipal department with an annual budget over $500m, and cofounder of San Francisco’s largest neighborhood association. He has spent hundreds of hours on both sides of the government dais, shouting into the opposite abyss. (This event is the result of his own mental-health crisis.)
Total walking distance 1.5 miles. Sneakers advised.
If my road trip takes me through San Francisco, maybe I’ll try and track this tour guide down and ask some questions, like HOW DID YOU PICK MY BRAIN? Because I have had this EXACT same idea, I just didn’t get around to operationalizing it.
Oh well, I guess all I can do is to continue writing what I write, and asking you, the public, for help doing the work. That help can be directed to Travis’ Impact Fund (TIF), or you can use the donation button at my about page.
Thanks for reading!