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ODOT crews attempt to keep litter at bay

I have noticed in the last few months that there is a large accumulation of trash along the freeway, especially between Medford and Ashland.

Who is responsible for picking it up? Can an individual park off the side of the freeway and pick up trash?

— Barbara S., Ashland

Be honest, Barbara: Did you talk about this question to someone else? We received another Since You Asked question last week that was almost identical to yours, although their range of inquiry stretched a little bit farther to Central Point. I guess we need to put this to bed once and for all.

The Oregon Department of Transportation has litter work crews in Central Point and Ashland that work on Interstate 5.

They hire corrections crews to work the more hazardous sections of the road. Their cleanup jobs are near the Siskiyou Summit and along the Sexton, Smith and Stage summits north of Grants Pass.

As to the large accumulation of trash you referred to, we felt ODOT spokesman Gary Leaming put it best: the trash keeps coming back.

"We seem to keep answering this question, because as soon as we get a section picked up, it soon looks like we were never there," Leaming wrote in an email.

He isn't certain why. It might just blow from the back of trucks, and a few too many drivers likely continue to carelessly toss their garbage out the window.

The top items ODOT crews find during cleanups include fast-food containers and bags, trash bags, unsecured household items that were being transported during a move, and jugs of used motor oil.

If you're interested in helping to reduce the amount of highway rubbish, we'd encourage you to head to the Adopt a Highway Program website at www.oregon.gov/ODOT/HWY/OOM/pages/adopt/aah.aspx. Groups that get involved tackle the relatively safer two-lane highways in the area.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@mailtribune.com.