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Viewpoints: Letters / Opinions

Dumping on South Pt. Higgins

By Jerry Cegelske


January 17, 2015
Saturday PM

In the past few months I made several inspection trips to the ends of the road on North and South Tongass, as well as Revilla Road and South Point Higgins. I was rather proud of the people of Ketchikan because there was little dumping of solid waste along the roads compared to past years. Abandoned vehicles have been non-existent with people using the Borough voucher program or disposing of vehicles by private enterprise.

On January 9, 2015 I was advised that there was a pile of trash at the end of S. Pt. Higgins Road. I went out, took photographs, and then proceeded to use all the knowledge I gained from watching CSI Miami, CSI New York and CSI Hyder. Through hard work and diligence I was able to ascertain where the trash came from. That happened when Loren Starr, Alaska DOT called and gave me the name of the homeowner which was on a bill. I got the bill from Loren, as well as a clear plastic carpet bag and some carpet that the DOT crew collected.

Material dumped at the end of S. Pt. Higgins

The homeowner was contacted and asked who installed the new carpet in his home. He stated the name but stated the installer would never dispose of the installation left overs that way. Upon being given a picture and recognizing the material dumped at the end of the road, the homeowner stated “I know who did this, that little punk! I paid him to take this to the landfill and I paid extra because I know they charge for getting rid of carpet and construction materials. I paid him $100.00!”

In trying to explain how it got to S. Pt. Higgins, the homeowner thought the 21 year old male may have had a girlfriend who lived there. The homeowner’s anger at being taken advantage of by the young man was restrained but I knew he was not happy with what had transpired and this was not the end of things on his part. He later called the dumpers residence and talked with the father, expressing his displeasure with what happened. He also hopes the young man has learned his lesson and will be more responsible in the future.

The next day a citation was issued for failure to dispose of wasted in a sanitary manner. The excuse for the dumping was that “Everyone does it!” The residence was located about a mile from the scale at the landfill, but the end of S. Pt. Higgins is at about mile 13 which would be about 15 miles from the residence! The material will be cleaned up this weekend.

Material from Alaska Mental Health Lands.

A photo of the material placed on Alaska Mental Health Trust lands on the weekend was in the Ketchikan Daily News. This prompted a north Tongass volunteer to go to the property and begin to clean up the wood placed there. The volunteer then stated that he would be back with a larger truck to remove some of the metal roofing.

The next morning I received a phone call from a man with a Gravina Island property who apologized for the problems he caused, explaining that he only staged the material there in preparation for taking it to Gravina. He did not know who to contact to he just placed the material there intending to remove it later. That Monday a local resident called the office and complained about it, beginning the investigation into the placement of the material. I hope the volunteer who removed some of the material and the person who placed it on the Mental Health lands came to a peaceful resolution to the ownership of the material and the construction job is on schedule.

Jerry Cegelske
Code Enforcement Officer
Ketchikan Gateway Borough
Ketchikan, Alaska


Received January 16, 2015 - Published January 17, 2015


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