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Trash piling up along the banks of the White River has residents concerned

Posted at 8:01 PM, May 13, 2019

INDIANAPOLIS — Concerned community members have reached out to RTV6 after they say their calls to the city have gone unanswered.

At West Street and the White River, people can't see it from the road, but if they walk over a few steps, they end up seeing all the trash down the banks, in between trees, just off the White River. There's piles of junk, old cars, and even a makeshift house.

Brian Powell first noticed the trash issue in January 2016. It looked as if it was illegal dumping at first.

"It's just grown since then. I've called the city on them a couple of times," Powell said.

Now, he says it's turned into a homeless camp, and he says the city seems not to be doing anything about it.

"They don't have an address down here, and I find it hard to believe that they would allow this to go on," Powell said.

Powell says that beyond the mess, it's a significant health issue when it rains.

"I've lived here all my life, and I've seen the water almost crest in this area," Powell said. 'And, if you can imagine, all this material just floating down the river, it's a terrible thing."

Powell snapped the following pictures a few months ago, with water flooding the area and, he says, trash and chemicals were just floating into the river.

On Monday, the area was dry. While RTV6 was working on the story, a man who lives near, who built the home with a fence around it, came up to talk with the station. He says the city has been by before.

"They told me I could build what whatever I wanted down there," the man said.

RTV6 went to the city's office of public health and safety, where they said they're looking into the structure. The office did say they are aware of the homeless camp in the area and are out there at least once a week to offer resources and services to help the individuals find housing.

The city says they can't kick homeless people off the public property because of the city ordinance that protects the homeless in Indianapolis.

But for the mess, they say they're working to clean up the area with multiple organizations.

The city says that if you have a similar complaint in your neighborhood, to submit it to the Mayor's Action Center with the exact address so they can investigate it.