ST. LOUIS – A north St. Louis resident says the Forestry Department has been so slow in picking up debris from storm damage in her neighborhood. Because of that, she says outsiders have started to use her community to dump debris.

Amber Cole doesn’t like what she saw after recent rounds of storms. Bundles of trees have been left on her streets for weeks. She says she’s been pleading for the city to act.

Recently, outsiders saw all the debris pile up, and it created a new problem. Trucks began dumping even more debris.

“When we had storms previously on July 1, stuff has just been here,” said Cole. “It’s been in the park. It’s been in the alley. People come down and see a place especially close to the street. They put the stuff on the back of the thing, they throw it off, and keep it moving.”

Sometimes, it’s more trees. In other cases, it’s bags of trash or old sofas. Cole says the appearance is just one of the many factors dragging down this challenged neighborhood.

“Anytime there’s a disaster, people won’t take it to the dump like they’re supposed to, and they’ll pay somebody to haul this stuff away,” said Cole. “The haulers will dump it wherever they can. They ain’t got to pay.”

As far as the storm damage goes, she’s not the only one who has waited to get debris picked up. The Forestry Department says staffing shortages prevent them from getting the neighborhood cleaned up as quickly as they would like.

Cole called the You Paid For It team. We called Forestry Commissioner Alan Jankowski. Then, there was a change.

Jankowski immediately dispatched an army of forestry workers to tackle the cleanup problem, and they hope will deter dumping. “Forestry will look into this debris and get it removed as quickly as possible,” he said in an email to the You Paid For It Team.

Cole says she will be watching and waiting.

“It hurts me because I know my neighborhoods and I know the residents in this area work hard to keep their property up,” said Cole. “And at this time, we don’t really get a lot of help.”