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Public Works takes on trash problem

Friday, January 29, 2021 by Jo Clifton

Anyone who has driven along East Riverside Drive, or next to the underpasses along Ben White Boulevard, or more than 60 other locations, has seen a disturbing sight –  mounds of trash, sometimes in piles, sometimes simply scattered across the ground. Austin’s Public Works Department personnel and contractor Relief Enterprises are working daily to clean the right-of-way on East Riverside and 63 underpasses, according to Public Works spokeswoman Elizabeth Ferrer, and the city’s Watershed Protection Department works to clean up watershed areas. Ferrer explained that Relief Enterprises is the same firm TxDOT used when it was doing the cleanups, so the company has a lot of experience. In an email, she told the Austin Monitor, “The 64 locations are on a scheduled monthly rotation to ensure continuity and equal coverage of every site … the Riverside location was cleaned yesterday and will be cleaned again in March.” Ferrer explained that the monthly cleanups are not homeless encampment sweeps and that no one is being relocated. “These are strictly to conduct trash and debris removal in the city’s right-of-way.” The contractor and city staff give advance notice to anyone living in the targeted areas so they can put their possessions in a tent or other shelter before the cleanup begins.

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