Anyone who wishes to enjoy beautiful Clover Creek, Lake Steilacoom, Chambers Creek, or Puget Sound, be warned. These wonderful creations of Mother Nature are now threatened with a new kind of contamination including aids.
Here is what I know.
- Clover Creek starts in Frederickson and then flows through Pacific Lutheran University, across McChord Air Force Base (Joint Base Lewis McChord), under South Tacoma Way, and Under the I-5 Freeway.
- Clover Creek flows past my home.
- Clover Creek flows into Lake Steilacoom.
- The outflow for Lake Steilacoom is Chambers Creek.
- Eventually the lake and creek system makes its way to Puget Sound just outside the Town of Steilacoom.
- For 40 years I have picked up after careless, thoughtless human rejects who choose to throw litter in the creek. Things like old tires, balls (Probably got away from some kid, rather than being tossed in by a human reject.), shoes, fast food wrappers and cups, broken glass, plastic and the list goes on.
We can chalk up what happens as described in number 6 above as one of the frustrations in life we have to live with. Our planet will always be negatively impacted by thoughtless people. If that was all there was to it, I would not have taken time today to write this story.
Here is what is new.
- What I have described in number 6 above can be classified as OCCASIONAL litter. The occasional litter required that I wear my hip waders and clean the creek one or two times a year.
- Today, 2018, the littering activity has exploded to what can best be described as DAILY litter. The creek has to be cleaned almost every day.
- Besides the normal kind of litter items referenced in number 6 above, these human rejects are throwing doper needles (hypodermic needles / sharps) into the creek. These are the kind of needles used by those addicted to meth or heroin. The needles are not capped.
- Used condoms are being thrown into the creek.
While I do what I can, I do not inspect or clean the creek on a daily basis, nor do I witness 24 hours a day what floats down the creek toward Lake Steilacoom. Some of this stuff lands in my area, but most of the litter continues down towards Lake Steilacoom.
Why is this happening?
I have no facts, but I do have three theories.
- Theory 1: Creekside rental properties contain thoughtless people who have a proven history of tossing litter into the creek. I have witnessed this. Maybe the RIP will help with this and maybe not.
- Theory 2: Bridgeport Way has been made more user friendly with the addition of new sidewalks which encourages more pedestrian traffic who in turn might find it easy and perverted fun to toss litter into the creek as they use the new sidewalk.
- Theory 3: My strongest theory, based on the increased level of activity and type of litter, is that there is one or more homeless camps on Clover Creek.
I have some familiarity with homeless camps because of my law enforcement experience and the fact that we have had to remove four homeless camps from a wooded parcel that has been in our family since 1946. Just last week I removed a trespasser’s tent which contained 4 doper needles.
The essence of my message today is this.
If you care about Clover Creek, Lake Steilacoom, Chambers Creek, or Puget Sound, know four things:
- There is a huge increase in litter being dumped into the creek system. It is an abnormal amount. It exceeds anything I have witnessed in 40 years.
- Hypodermic needles (doper needles / sharps) are being tossed into the creek / lake system. I have never seen this kind of dangerous litter in Clover Creek.
- Used condoms are being tossed into the creek / lake system. I have never seen this kind of litter in Clover Creek.
- The homeless defecate and urinate anywhere and everywhere they want including in public and in the creek.
If you care about this, please reach out to the City of Lakewood, Lakewood City Council and any creek management people and ask for an investigation followed by a solution.
If I were a King for the day, I would organize an inspection party and then walk the entire creek system from Lake Steilacoom to Frederickson or at least to our Lakewood City border with the goal of locating and removing any homeless encampments. That would be an excellent task for creek management people to handle.
Human feces, urine, doper needles, and used condoms do not belong in our creek and lake system. If a child or adult is victimized by being stuck with a needle, seek immediate medical help to minimize or eliminate issues related to contracting aids and other diseases from a dirty needle.
If it is shown the homeless are the cause of this new exploding litter problem and public health exposure, then I recommend a well balanced combination of kindness and enforcement be directed toward the homeless in an effort to eradicate yet another unnecessary homeless problem.
John Rowe says
Being homeless sucks and while I never was, I suspect that type of life can lead to drug use as well as drug use leading to homelessness. I’ve never seen as many homeless folks as I now do and it is a societal problem we need to address. Perhaps by doing so we may help remediate the litter in waterways somewhat.
David Anderson says
Put the homeless to work. https://thesubtimes.com/2016/11/09/letter-two-extremes-the-haves-and-the-homeless-have-nots/
Bea Crane says
David, I have found in my personal experience that drug/alcohol addicted homeless folks really are not that interested in working and have been known to steal from me.
If you have concerns, these folks would like to know. They meet typically the third Wednesday of each month from 3:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. Next is Feb 21st Where: Lakewood Community Center,
9112 Lakewood Dr. SW, Lakewood WA 98499 http://www.co.pierce.wa.us/1860/Chambers—Clover-Watershed-Council
Joseph Boyle says
Thank you. I will contact them with my concerns.