BEND, Ore. - (Update: inmate work crew removes dumped garbage)
The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office inmate work crew was out west of Bend Wednesday, clearing a spot in the Deschutes National Forest that had been used as a dump site.
The area off Forest Service Road 4610 is part of the popular Phil’s Trail Complex.
"It looked like an apartment without walls. Trash, food, plates, lots of just gross things,” said John Worthington, a trail user.
Worthington had headed out for a mountain bike ride Tuesday when he saw piles of garbage near the trail.
"I'm frustrated that people would do that, just because this is our land that we share and we all want to use it. It's just -- it was frustrating,” he said.
U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman Jean Nelson-Dean said they are aware of the problem.
"Our law enforcement has been investigating the dump. Our goal is to find who did it and prosecute that person for dumping on public lands,” she said.
It's a crime punishable by a fine up to $5,000 and/or six months in jail.
"I don't understand the mindset of somebody who instead of taking their garbage to the dump, drops it on pubic land and risks being prosecuted,” Nelson-Dean said.
She could not comment on who is responsible yet, but said the investigation is expect to wrap up in the next day or two.
Worthington said keeping public lands clean is everyone’s responsibility.
"The Forest Service isn't the maid for this. We use this land too. We pay for it. We can clean this up too -- we don't need to rely on someone else to,” he said.
Anyone who spots a dump site on public lands should alert the managing agency first, instead of trying to clean it up. That way, officials can conduct a proper investigation and could find the culprits.