‘It’s getting worse’: People worry about trash pile-ups on the Spokane River

SPOKANE, Wash. — People who live along the Spokane River are frustrated with a pile of trash seeping into the river. They’ve reached out to the city, but the mess is still there.

Rex Bankhead has lived along the river on Centennial Trail for about 20 years. Him and his wife love to walk the trail, but an eyesore along the river is hindering the natural beauty.

“We walk around the area every morning, and it seems like these problems are growing and growing,” Bankhead said. “It’s sort of going downhill.”

The pile is full of food, bags, cardboard, clothing and other litter. The mess started on the riverbank, but since no one’s cleaned it up, it’s moving down the hill. Now, pieces of the garbage are floating away. This isn’t good for anyone.

“Those can seep into the river and actually have a significant impact on the water quality of the Spokane River,” said Amanda Parrish, the Executive Director for The Lands Council.

Bankhead has tried to fix the issue. He says he’s called the city’s helpline 311 multiple times, but nothing’s been resolved.

“Hopefully, they can solve the problem because it’s getting worse every year,” he added.

The city says it’s working its way through these complaints, but it’s a complicated issue. Sometimes the terrain makes it difficult to get to the messes, and it’s hard to pinpoint the exact locations. However, they are working on it.

“In this particular area, we’ve been putting a lot of attention there, but they move around a lot. It’s difficult to access,” said Kirstin Davis, the Communications Manager for the City of Spokane. “It’s kind of a different situation every day.”

With each passing day, Bankhead watches the landscape he loves lose its luster to litter.

“It is a nice place, and people have worked hard to make Spokane a nice place, but it’s losing its appeal,” said Bankhead.

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