ST. PAUL, Minn. - The corner of 10th and Wacouta Street in St. Paul is a corner that just couldn’t continue to be messy and filled with trash.
“For me this didn’t take much to simply say, 'This is wrong. We can go fix this,'” St. Paul resident Erich Mische said.
Mische helped gather people to clean up the street corner after a Facebook post.
In December, the city evicted transients living there. Ever since, residents say it’s been a dirty mess.
Mische says they found soiled diapers, clothing, a knife, and syringes still “filled with some sort of chemical."
The property is owned by the state of Minnesota but falls inside St. Paul city limits. City of St. Paul Department of Public Safety and Inspections Ricardo Cervantes says it did notify MnDOT of the issue and that it needed to be cleaned up.
“The protocols we have, have worked well in the past,” Cervantes said.
After months of inaction, Mische said he had had enough. He and several other residents cleaned the property themselves then dumped the trash bags in front of city hall's front door.
“There is a point where this garbage dump becomes a metaphor for what everyone hates about government today," Mische said. “Instead of doing its job they want to fight with one another.”
KARE 11 did reach out to a MnDOT spokesman but did not hear back. Cervantes said they received a commitment from MnDOT to clean up the mess but it was not picked up before residents took it upon themselves Sunday.
"Bureaucracy can sometimes get in the way," Cervantes said. "In that case, I apologize that we as a city did not take the initiative to clean it up, although that may have not been our protocol. This is not what we represent.”
Cervantes said Mische or any of the other residents who dumped the garbage at city hall will receive a fine.
Mische doesn’t regret doing it, though.
“If that’s what it took to get their attention, I would do it 100 times over again," he said.
As for Cervantes, he said, “I mean, putting it in front of our city hall is a way to send a clear message and we agree. This doesn’t meet our standard by any means.”