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More illegal forest dumping discovered near La Pine

Forest service officials say illegal dumping continues to be a problem

LA PINE, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Even with the stay at home order in place, the Deschutes National Forest says illegal dumping continues to be a problem.

Forest spokeswoman Jean Nelson-Dean told NewsChannel 21 Monday they have not seen an uptick in reports of illegal dumping. However, she said illegal dumping is a constant issue, both from an enforcement perspective as well as finding funds to clean up the dump sites.

She said in the past three weeks, more than 7,000 pounds of trash were removed from the China Hat area alone.

Kimberly Alonzo, who lives in La Pine, said she was out for a hike with her children at the McKay Campground last Thursday when she came across another dump site. She said she and her children did an Easter egg hunt on Saturday in a different forest area and saw more trash.

“At this time of quarantine, a lot of people are going out in the woods and trying to enjoy the fresh air and the weather, and it’s sad to see stuff like that,” Alonzo said Monday.

She said she’s not surprised to see the dump sites, but she feels it’s even more discouraging to see at a time when people want to go outside to relax during the pandemic.

“This community is here to help, especially at this time of this world right now,” Alonzo said. “Don’t feel afraid to call the dump and let them know your situation. Everybody’s in a bind right now, and we’re all willing to help each other out.”

She said she would be willing to pay the dump fee, if other people in the community step in to help clean up.

The Forest Service has closed campgrounds and recreation sites to follow Gov. Kate Brown’s stay-at-home order. It says people who do not follow the closure order could receive a ticket, but the goal is to get people to follow the rules voluntarily.

For more information about the Deschutes National Forest’s guidelines due to COVID-19, visit their FAQs page.

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Rhea Panela

Rhea Panela is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Rhea here.


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