WEST RICHLAND, Wash. - The Tri-Cities is a beautiful place to live and play. With three rivers flowing through the region some people in West Richland are wondering why it's so difficult to keep them clean.
Trash litters the embankment of the Yakima River in one neighborhood. It's even in the river. With no public restrooms nearby people often relieve themselves in the bushes or behind cars on Butte Court. Residents are tired of it.
"We don't seem to get anywhere with the publicity," said resident Troy Dornbusch. "It seems to be a growing problem. I think it needs to be blocked from public use because it's only getting worse."
Over a year ago the City believed they would be obtaining that property. They put up signs and garbage cans for public use. Dornbusch said it didn't help much, but it was something.
"About a week ago, I got a letter in the mail saying we're pulling all of our garbage cans out and our no littering signs because we don't have ownership. We thought we did, but we didn't," said Dornbusch.
However the City does own a patch of greenbelt adjacent to the property in question.
"Would we want to put porta potties out? No," said mayor Donna Noski. "We'd probably want to wait until we own a good portion of property along the river in order to accommodate because they're not getting out on city property, they're getting out on private property."
"I think it's going to be a worse problem now than ever because the garbage cans are out of here and nobody's picking up the garbage anymore," said Dornbusch. "Which at least the city was picking up the garbage even though I had to stare at a huge mound next to the cans, down the embankment and flowing into the river as well."
Noski said because free access to the river is limited there's not much the City can do right now. Officials are looking into grants to take ownership of more riverfront property and, in turn, keep them clean.