Mayor Geoffrey Thomas has directed city staff to make weekly walkthroughs on public lands, to keep accessible areas clean.
Police and Parks and Recreation staff have also recently worked to clear areas along unmaintained trails in Al Borlin Park of amassed trash and debris, some as a result of occupied or previously occupied homeless encampments.
There are roughly 90 acres of woodland in Al Borlin Park, which hugs the Skykomish River northeast of the Lewis Street Bridge. It includes about 1.2 miles of designated, city-maintained trails.
Thomas said he directed the efforts in response to concerns by community members, which came to his attention in early January.
Thomas toured the areas specified in the complaints with =Monroe Police Sgt. Ryan Irving.
A number of those areas had more debris than was found on city-owned property, Thomas said. Those areas were on railroad and private properties and within Washington State Department of Transportation right of ways, he said.
Thomas and Irving also walked behind the Walmart, Goodwill and the Seventh-day Adventist Church on Chain Lake Road, looking at those properties also owned by WSDOT, he said.
“It doesn’t make it right — I want to be clear,” Thomas said. “It must be cleaned up. It must.”
The owners of the other properties have been notified, and city staff will follow up to make sure any trash is taken care of, he said.
Monroe Parks and Recreation director Mike Farrell said he is appreciative of the public for keeping the department informed about areas and activities that are concerning. Staff will now regularly document amounts of refuse and where it is found throughout local parks. Staff will also track how many hours are spent each week surveying and cleaning those areas, to have a better understanding of where to direct attention, he said.
Thomas asks if members of the public “see something, to say something.” Anyone wishing to report trash or concerns can contact interim city administrator David Moseley.