Marlene Feist

Packing out trash by mule

Marlene Feist, Utilities Communications Manager, No Phone Number Available

Thursday, January 30, 2014 at 10:33 a.m.

Packing out trash by mule

What do you do with thousands of pounds of trash that has accumulated down a steep slope along the Spokane River? You get creative.

We worked with the Northeast Chapter of the Washington Backcountry Horsemen Association to bring in some hard-working mules--and people--to haul up that trash on the north bank of the River near Kendall Yards.

The mules removed 2,000 to 3,000 pounds in their trips up and down the bank. And, we finished the rest of the work the next day, with the City's Litter Crew taking up loads that were too heavy for the mules with a winch anchored to a truck. The second efforts yielded thousands of more pounds of discarded material.

Having so much trash in such a tricky location had the City's Code Enforcement Office considering the problem from all angles. Heather Trautman, the City's Director of Neighborhood Services and Code Enforcement, says the mules were a great solution to deal with the stubborn problem.

“The mules are well equipped for walking down the steep hillside, even when the weather is cold and the trail somewhat slick,” Trautman says.

The cleanup also fits with the City's work to invest in a cleaner and healthier Spokane River.

We're planning to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to improve the health of the Spokane River over the next half dozen years. We'll be addressing flows from combined sewers, untreated stormwater, and improvements to our wastewater treatment processes.

But ultimately, what we're really developing is a comprehensive plan to clean up and celebrate one of our greatest assets—the Spokane River. Keeping that asset as free of trash as possible has to be part of our plans.

Our sincere thanks go out to the Backcountry Horsemen Association for their assistance and their dedication to our community.

  • Packing trash by mule
  • Trash by the river
  • Discarded Materials by the river

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