Tulsa church concerned about trash dumping on their property

Thursday, October 27th 2005, 10:03 am
By: News On 6

Someone is turning property owned by a north Tulsa church into an illegal dumpsite. Church members say it's been happening for months and they're caught in between whoever keeps trashing their lot and the city ordering them to clean it up.

The News on 6's Heather Lewin says the small north Tulsa lot, owned by the Church of the Living God will one day be a youth center or a playground if Bishop Thomas Smith has his way, but for now someone else decided to make it a dump. "We've had about 10 dumpings on the property."

He says it's been going on for almost a year, piles of what appears to be construction debris, left on church property. Church members say they've hauled away truckloads, only to be hit again.

The property has junk on it so often, Smith has gotten several letters from the city, ordering him to clean it up or be fined. "I'll get a letter from them saying you have 10 days to get the trash and debris off your lot, like we're deliberately doing this." Last time they had to clean up the lot, church members say they put up signs saying no dumping, no trespassing, and private property.

Someone took those signs away and left more trash. Smith says its cost the church about $2,000 so far to dispose of the trash. "We're a small church and it affects us greatly, we don't have that kind of money." He just discovered this recent pile and is afraid the city will cite him. He's hoping someone will come forward and report the guilty party. "I just want it stopped."

City officials tell the News on 6 they've been working with residents to clean up the Northgate neighborhood for the past year. They say they haven't sent the church an abatement letter since July. Now that they're aware of the problem, officials tell us they will contact the church and try to find out who is behind the illegal dumping.