South Omaha eyesore leaves neighbors frustrated over alleged illegal dumping

A South Omaha property owner says his dumping isn't illegal.
Published: May. 9, 2023 at 10:31 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - After neighbors took video of him dumping old tires in piles on his own lots near 9th and Castelar Streets in South Omaha, 6 On Your Side confronted property owner Tristan Scorpio, who claims he’s done nothing wrong.

“For the record, I will keep it there, and I’ll build a fence around it, and I have that right to do that,” Scorpio said.

That has neighbors worried the worst is yet to come.

“If it was burning, it wouldn’t stop,” said neighbor Jeremy Hamilton. “It would burn all this down, I think. I mean, it’s just piles of tires with pallets on top of it ready for kindling. It’s just ready to go up.”

That’s one reason why city, county and state officials, along with Omaha Police, recently inspected the property to see if two lots with one owner are being used for illegal dumping.

“We’re just trying to get together so we can work out a good plan to get the situation addressed for some neighbors who are having issues in the area,” said Russ Hadan with the Douglas County Health Department.

The lots that used to be wooded are more barren with the appearance of a dumpsite. The property lies at the bottom of a street lined with houses, and a relative of one homeowner is glad complaints didn’t lead to a dead end.

“We’ve called several agencies, and today is the day they’re going to react for us.”

Douglas County Health sent Scorpio an illegal dumping violation notice, while Omaha Police cited him for allowing weeds and litter on his property. What city inspectors left on the property -- a sign with an official notice of violation, and a letter intended for the property owner saying he’s been warned before, and he’s past a deadline for cleaning up this mess.

The owner says dumping on the lots is to fulfill his building plans.

“This is an active construction site, so you can’t say you can’t do deliveries now,” Scorpio said. “You can’t say I can’t do this stuff. This is my job site. This is my property.”

But next-door neighbors don’t see it.

“What does he care? He leaves at night and it doesn’t matter to him,” Hamilton said. “He acts like he’s going to build a house here, a couple of houses here, but the stuff isn’t filling -- you can’t build on it.”

Hamilton says he made a debris barrier to keep dumped material from being pushed onto his property, but owners of a third lot say it’s too late for space.

“People seeing this guy doing this kind of stuff around us, it’s setting a bad example of seeing an empty lot and come and dump trash or whatever they want, and that’s no fair at all,” said neighboring lot owner Miguel Martinez.

Not apologizing for the dumping he’s allowed on his lots, Tristan Scorpio says he’ll be ready for court.

While waiting on the outcome of the illegal dumping charge, officials from four agencies will huddle again to decide how the mess should be cleaned up -- and neighbors will be watching.

Scorpio tells 6 On Your Side he’s filed applications for building on the lots, but city records show only one permit granted, and that’s for an electrical pole. The city reports no permits on file for a landfill.