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City removes junk pile that drew complaints from residents

Posted at 9:23 PM, Jul 31, 2014
and last updated 2014-08-01 20:21:06-04

UPDATE: Crews from Salt Lake City cleared the pile of junk away Friday morning, and county officials said they are investigating the issue to determine who is responsible.

Previous story continues below:

SALT LAKE CITY -- Residents are trashing a pile of junk in their neighborhood, and they want the city to clean it up.

Not only is it a safety issue but also a possible health hazard. The trash has been at 1592 South and 900 East in Sugar House for days, according to some residents.

"I can't stand it,” resident Camille Marshall said. “It's nasty, and from what I understand there's bugs all in it and everything.”

Boxes of clothes and baby toys are scattered along a neighborhood sidewalk, and a warning sign that the junk may be infested with cockroaches.

"It makes the neighborhood look bad," resident Claudia Leary said.

No one knows what really unfolded, but some tell FOX 13 News a woman was evicted and her belongings were thrown out on to the street.

"The landlord had evicted some lady and just like threw out all of her stuff out there, and I would think being a landlord, you'd at least have a trash bin or a storage to put in for people," resident Traci Garcia said.

A black and white picture of two children sat on an old dresser not far from where Brooke Stewart is rummaging for valuables.

"We are going through this pile of people's trash to get metal,” Stewart said.

The single mom takes her daughter scavenging in order to survive.

"I look for anything that I can sell,” she said. “This is peoples' stuff, so there's probably jewelry in here, I found a necklace already. I cut cords off things and I strip them for the copper wire.”

While it's an opportunity for some to dig for gold, others, like a man in a wheelchair, had a tough time getting around the blight. Residents wonder why the city hasn't come to clean it up.

"It makes the neighborhood look bad, it makes the landlord look really bad, I don't think I'd want to rent from him," Leary said.

"It lowers the value,” Marshall said. “It makes it look trashy and we have a very pretty neighborhood.”

The city's code of enforcement is a complaint-driven process, and officials said no one has called to complain, so they were unaware.

Now that they know, city officials said they, along with the Utah Department of Health, will be investigating.