CAUGHT ON CAMERA: Two men illegally dump tree debris in south Omaha neighborhood

Published: Jul. 16, 2021 at 9:54 AM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - 6 News cameras were rolling Thursday afternoon when two men backed their pickup truck onto a median in a south Omaha neighborhood to toss tree parts.

For days since last weekend’s storm, people have been dumping tree trash on a neighborhood median. Residents say they’re cutting corners because they don’t want to wait in the drop-off site lines or pay to get rid of the debris.

While speaking to resident Stephanie Perez, who shared surveillance video from earlier in the day near 59th Street and Fay Boulevard, 6 News saw another set of men do the very same thing.

In that video, a bold duo dumps a full load of tree branches and debris onto a median where Perez said children used to play since the neighborhood has no sidewalks.

CAUGHT ON CAMERA: While doing a story on illegal dumping, two guys are caught in the act trashing tree debris in a residential area. Lauren Melendez had her cameras rolling so they took off. Full story at 10.

Posted by WOWT 6 News on Thursday, July 15, 2021

The medians are very wide and run through the entire neighborhood. Normally, they’re empty, green and grassy, but as of a week ago, they’re barely recognizable.

Three blocks of tree trash covers the entire strip, all the way up to 56th and Fay.

Perez said the first set of men were not only bold, but disrespectful. They came and dumped the debris, tossed their garbage and even cigarettes.

“The neighbors have to deal with the mess and we’re left with it and the city’s not gonna get to it because they’re busy doing other stuff,” she said.

Perez reached out to 6 News on Friday morning to report that city crews were cleaning the debris-filled medians in her neighborhood. Thanking our team for the report, she said she believes the coverage of the illegal dumping got the city’s attention and sent us photos of the cleanup.

Omaha crews on Friday morning, July 16, 2021, were cleaning up an area where 6 News caught two...
Omaha crews on Friday morning, July 16, 2021, were cleaning up an area where 6 News caught two men illegally dumping tree debris the day before.(Courtesy photo)

Debris is still scattered across the Omaha-metro.

Late last Friday, winds gusting up to 96 miles per hour toppled trees, tore apart homes, and damaged several buildings. Since then, debris drop-off sites have been quickly filling up and causing long lines of cars to become backed up.

But that’s no excuse for the illegal dumping, Perez said.

“Children live and children play here,” she said.

To add insult to injury, as she was sharing her frustration with us, it almost happened again, but we caught it on video.

While watching that surveillance video with us, Perez’s granddaughter yelled, “There’s more people!”

Perez and Melendez ran outside with a cell phone and our cameras rolling. Right away, the men put up a fight, saying to Perez, “We were told this was a dumping site.”

In the 6 News video, you can hear Perez asking the men for the name of the person who allegedly told them that as she corrected the misinformation. She told them it was not in fact a dump site and was illegal to leave their trash piles in front of people’s homes.

”It’s just not right,” Perez said shaking her head. “People have been doing this for days. We don’t know where these people are coming from and we don’t know why they’re coming here.”

Perez said she believes the culprits are a mix of lazy people and even some contractors whom she could make out on video. She said they’re cutting corners and not paying to legally dump the debris at the site that’s less than a mile from her home: Al Veys Field.

Perez added she is furious and frustrated, like her neighbors and the young children who live there don’t deserve this treatment, but instead a clean and safe neighborhood to call home.

6 News reached out to Omaha Public Works and called the mayor’s hotline to see whether they were aware of the issue and if there would be any penalties but had not yet heard back by the time of this report. Both phone numbers appeared to be temporarily disconnected or out of commission.

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