Editor’s note: This story was updated on April 5, 2017 at 11:40 a.m. to include remarks from Ben Petok, Senior Communications Advisor for St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman.
ST. PAUL, Minn. — Just days after touting his efforts to work with Eureka recycling to fix the recycling issues in St. Paul, gubernatorial candidate and St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman now has a garbage issue.
As reported by Alpha News, Coleman acknowledged the setbacks faced in the beginning phase of the revamped recycling program. In January, many St. Paul residents went weeks without scheduled recycling pick-ups, blaming it on weather and the scale of the program.
In December 2016, city officials dismantled a homeless camp on 10th and Wacouta in Downtown St. Paul, but the structure of the homeless camp remained intact through March according to the Pioneer Press.
The Pioneer Press reports city workers would have swiftly cleaned up the area if the land was privately owned, sending the bill to the property owner. However, the land is owned by Minnesota’s Department of Transportation (MnDOT), and no one has really taken the effort to clean up the area. Since the property is state-owned, the city says it has no authority to clean up the area.
A group of citizens tired of seeing the mess in their neighborhood grabbed their trash bags to clean it up, then left the bags in front of City Hall in St. Paul.
Erich Mische gathered a group of citizens together to clean the former homeless camp. He told KSTP, ““If city hall is not going to come and get the garbage, we’ll bring the garbage to city hall.”
The group collected anywhere from 50-75 bags of garbage, delivering most of it to the dump, while some of it ended up in front of City Hall.
According to Ben Petok, Senior Communications Advisor to Coleman told Alpha News that Mische and other volunteers will not face any fines for their efforts. This statement comes after KSTP reported that Mische could face illegal dumping fees for his efforts.