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Report illegal trash dumpers, but stay safe

I live up on Griffin Creek road, almost to Anderson Butte Road. I see vans pulling trailers full of garbage, pickup trucks loaded with garbage and old appliances (generally avocado-colored), and cars full of trash headed up the road. Oddly, they come down in a very short time. Empty. Lots of this garbage is being unloaded on the left side of the road before you get to the quarry. Can anything be done? 

— Eileen K.

This is not an uncommon problem, Eileen, one that's well known to the Jackson County Sheriff's Office.

"Anderson Butte is a big problem, but unfortunately every (Bureau of Land Management) road in the county has the identical problem," said Eric Johnson, a sheriff's department deputy assigned to rural forest areas, via email.

And — not surprisingly — that problem is a crime. Johnson said he typically uses two Oregon Revised Statutes to cite trash dumpers: offensive littering, ORS 164.805, or deposit of trash within 100 yards of waters or in waters, ORS 164.775.

Sometimes, Johnson will use county ordinances for his citations, namely 1864.08 (unauthorized dumping prohibited) or 1864.09 (ownership of solid waste.) The latter essentially states you can't pay someone to haul your dirty diapers, soiled coffee filters and pizza boxes if they aren't licensed.

"It just depends on a case-by-case basis," Johnson said.

Johnson and one other BLM law enforcement officer cover all of the county's BLM lands, Johnson told us, so extra sets of eyes and ears are appreciated. Sheriff Nathan Sickler said anyone who witnesses occurrences such as the ones you shared should document as much as they can. This could include time, date, description of the vehicle and those inside, and a license plate number. Photos and video are helpful, too. Just be safe in your efforts.

"Please don't put yourself at risk to capture this information," Sickler said.

— 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. We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.