Can Houston clean up its chronic dumping problem?

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It looks like a dump. But it's not. It's the median of a southeast Houston neighborhood.

It looks like a dump, littered with piles of broken sectional sofas and leather couches, a pool table without legs, coolers, shopping carts, bricks, broken glass, gobs of filled trash bags and a forest's worth of dead tree branches.

But it's not a dump. It's the median on Wayside Drive in southeast Houston, just around the corner from a Houston Police command center and a few blocks from the city's F.M. Law Park, the home of the park department's Father/Child Charity Golf Tournament.

Paul Callis lives right around the corner -- and is frustrated.

"Everytime you turn around man, bam," said Callis. "You wake up the next morning, it's right there in the street. I've seen people bringing their relatives over there and putting trash there. It's ridiculous."

Residents said that the piles of trash attract others who want to dump their waste the easy way.

"They see everyone else dumping and say, 'I'll throw out my trash there too.'" Callis said.

Neighbor Carmen Castro agreed that the big piles are a big problem.

"It's packed with trash all the time," she said. "It's packed with couches. Mainly couches."

And she worries about neighborhood kids walking to and from the park.

"They walk through here," Castro said. "The park is down the street."

It's the job of the city's Solid Waste Department to pick this stuff up. But 3-1-1 data doesn't show this spot has a current work order.

Ted Oberg Investigates will make sure it does now.

The visit by abc13 coincides with a shakeup at the city's Department of Neighborhoods announced at city hall.

Mayor Sylvester Turner appointed and Houston City Council confirmed Takasha Francis as the new director of the Neighborhoods Department on Wednesday. She is a lawyer who previously served in the child support division for the Texas Attorney General.

The Department of Neighborhoods claims on its website it's a one-stop-shop to resolve neighborhood issues, but one can see in this case that the problem of solving dumping is multi-faceted.

For example, it's the Solid Waste Department's job to clean up these piles, because they are on public land. It's the police department's job to investigate who is doing the dumping. The Department of Neighborhoods deals with blight and trash on private property.

In this case, a viewer contacted Ted Oberg Investigates, embarrassed that the city would allow these piles to fester as the prestigious and much-watched NCAA Final Four Championship takes over Houston this weekend.

The dumping is a chronic problem.

Ted Oberg Investigates will see if the city can get keep it from coming back.
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