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Sheriff’s Office faces mixed reactions to property cleanups

By Bob Conrad

The Washoe County Board of Commissioners today heard an update by Washoe County Sheriff’s Office employees about illegal dumping cleanup efforts in Sun Valley. 

Garbage and abandoned vehicles at 320 Quartz Lane have prompted the sheriff’s office to attempt to clean up the property. But because it’s private property, WCSO personnel said their efforts have been hampered.

“Because of the private property aspect, we haven’t been able to come up with a solution,” said Chief Deputy Greg Herrera. “We’re going to be sending a team … to knock on doors of the community out there to make sure they know the processes. It doesn’t happen without the community.”

He said residents reporting illegal dumping will help. The property has been a nuisance for years. Garbage at the property even shows up on Google Earth’s satellite images.

“It’s every bit as bad as they’re telling you it is,” Herrera said. 

Quartz Lane dumping. Washoe County Commission meeting screen shot.
Quartz Lane dumping. WCSO Chief Deputy Greg Herrera said people had been living in some of the campers on the site. Washoe County Commission meeting screen shot.

“Do we need to tweak the nuisance code?” asked County Commissioner Vaughn Hartung. 

“Absolutely,” Herrera responded, adding that tracking owners of abandoned vehicles is difficult. “I’d like to see a little more teeth in codes.”

Hartung said Waste Management makes a ton of money off the region and should be part of the solution. 

“It’s expensive to go to Lockwood … and there [are] a lot of reasons why this occurs,” Hartung added. 

Herrera said inmates will be cleaning up the property this week.

Cleanup criticized for using inmate labor

The WCSO promoted on social media another cleanup in Veterans Parkway bike path tunnels. Accumulated garbage, the WCSO Facebook post reads, prompted the WCSO’s homeless outreach team to clean up the area.

Garbage in a Veterans Parkway bike tunnel. Image: WCSO.
Garbage in a Veterans Parkway bike tunnel. Image: WCSO.

“Members of the [team] have been working for weeks with the unsheltered community members who had been living in these tunnels for months,” WCSO’s post noted.

Inmates were helping with the cleanup. Not everyone was happy about that. 

“Can the prisoners you thank below for ‘manually moving massive amounts of trash’ reject that work assignment or are you thanking them for their forced labor?” Athar Haseebullah, executive director at ACLU Nevada, posted online in response. 

WCSO’s post indicated those living in the tunnels had received housing assistance.

“Great effort by all!” WCSO tweeted.

More commission news 

Provided by Washoe County

Board approves library grant to purchase a bookmobile 

The Washoe County Library System received a $75,000 grant from the Federal 2021 Library Services and Technology Act, through the State of Nevada American Recovery Act, to purchase a bookmobile. This will allow the library to expand and improve library outreach services to various parts of Washoe County. A bookmobile will take library services to underserved communities, particularly those in rural areas, and homebound seniors or those without access to transportation. Grant funds will also help the library reach residents through internet hotspots, accessible Wi-Fi and digital content.

Animal Services receives grant for rescue vehicle 

Washoe County Regional Animal Services received a $15,000 grant from the Dave and Cheryl Duffield Foundation to be used for animal rescue response during wildfire seasons. The grant will be used to purchase an emergency animal trailer that is self-contained and temperature-controlled to house up to 43 animals and supplies for wildfire evacuations.   

Commissioners approve bid for detention bunk replacements 

WCSO will award a contract to Simerson Construction to replace bunks in two housing units and the infirmary at the county’s detention facility. Simerson was the only contractor to submit a bid for this project, coming in at $27,000 under the project’s estimated budget of $571,707. 

The WCSO has replaced aging bunks over the last several decades, and has 477 wooden bunks needing to be replaced.  

National Apprenticeship Week recognized

Commissioner Alexis Hill read a proclamation declaring this week, November 15-21, as National Apprenticeship Week. There are more than 5,000 active registered apprentices undergoing training in Nevada for high-skill construction careers. Apprenticeships provide an affordable pathway to well-paying careers that are inclusive of historically marginalized people.

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