OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – An Oklahoma City business that sits in a heavily populated homeless neighborhood has been issued a citation by the city, saying the company is responsible for trash that sits in an alleyway next to their business. The company claims the trash does not belong to them and turned to KFOR for help.
KFOR went to the property on Tuesday and found trash in the alleyway. There were clothes, empty beer cans and much more that would likely not belong to a company that makes signs.
“We have to clean up feces off the back of our building all the time. There’s needles. It’s a safety concern for us, and now we are either forced to approach them or be fined,” said Taylor Morris, J&B Graphics.
Taylor Morris with J&B graphics in northwest Oklahoma City said they’ve been dealing with mounts of trash in the neighborhood for years. It has been so bad that she and several other surrounding business owners wrote a letter to City Manager Craig Freeman, Mayor David Holt and Councilwoman JoBeth Hamon for help regarding trash and homeless in the area. But she says it fell on deaf ears.
“I’m telling you; this is wild down here. It’s the wild, wild West,” said Morris.
KFOR spoke with other business owners in the area who didn’t want to go on camera but did confirm the homeless population is responsible for the trash.
“We’re just struggling, trying to get anybody to help us down here,” said Morris.
Morris said she was surprised when someone from the city hand delivered her a ticket saying J&B Graphics is responsible for the trash on city property that sits next to the building.
“It pretty much was that we have 30 days to clean up all the trash and debris left by the homeless camps in the alleyway… We will not be paying anything related to that,” said Morris.
Morris says she’s been waiting for the city to take action for years, but never thought the city would make the company responsible for the issue.
Morris even provided KFOR with pictures showing homeless people blocking the alleyway with mounts of trash. In the picture there’s bikes, wagons, tents and much more that Morris says does not belong to her sign company.
Even on Tuesday, the trash includes nothing related to a sign making business.
“One of the photos that I sent you was a group of people that had about 16 bikes, propane cans and then tents and debris.
The Oklahoma City Homeless Alliance, sitting just two blocks away from J&B Graphics, provided KFOR with the following statement from ED and founder Dan Straughan:
“The Homeless Alliance serves close to 400 individuals and families each day from our WestTown campus. We are an inclusive agency that serves people with the highest vulnerability and breadth of needs, so we do our best to meet people where they are. Often times people experiencing homelessness are given single use, disposable items which generates more trash and there are not always trash cans conveniently located. We work with both City code enforcement and County services to address camping and associated trash off our property and private security to discourage camping on our property. We would encourage any neighbor nearby with a concern to reach out to us. We are thankful for the ability to serve our clients and care about being the best neighbor we can be. As always, there is more need than capacity. But trash is something we struggle with and are always working to improve.”
Morris is just wondering why they’ve been deemed responsible for the mess.
“It’s pretty much falling on deaf ears. It’s not good. We’re not getting anywhere. And it’s very frustrating for us,” said Morris.
Development Services issued the ticket. The City of Oklahoma City sent KFOR a statement saying, “The City empathizes with the property owner, but land owners are responsible when illegal dumping takes place on their property. Maintenance of alleys are the responsibility of property owners. We encourage the sign company to contact Homeless Alliance to find a solution.”