PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — The story of the trash-filled yard in Portsmouth continues into Wednesday — now with a new update.
The junk is gone.
10 On Your Side first wrote about the yard on Pinewell Street in the Arcadia Heights neighborhood Tuesday. It was littered with everything from bicycles to electronics, to other unusual junk. It seemed the only thing missing was the kitchen sink.
WAVY’s calls Tuesday aimed to prompt the city, property owner and renter to do something about it.
By Wednesday morning, the property owner had hired a crew to take away the junk, and around the corner the renter, Josh — who put all the junk in the front yard and would not give his last name — was working to clean up.
Josh was working on hauling some of the junk away Wednesday, and wouldn’t say where he was taking it. He took much of it away.
While he was gone dumping what was in the back of his pickup truck, someone came along and took away everything else. There was little left in the front yard except for grass and a walkway to the front door.
In the end, someone stole the last bit of Josh’s debris.
Josh was left with just one chore: blowing the remaining dust off the pavement.
So, why was the junk in the yard?
Josh admits he’s a dumpster-diver and dumped all of the debris in his yard in plain view of the neighbors.
“I needed my truck emptied for a job I had to do, and I needed my ladder, and I needed to do it quick, and that’s what I did. I dumped everything in my driveway, so I could get the ladder and go. I was going to get back to cleaning it up,” he said.
Josh claimed Tuesday he had never been cited by Portsmouth, but further investigation by WAVY News found Josh and the property owner both got notices of violations three times in 2019.
WAVY News asked Josh what the city said to him.
“They said the same thing they always do, ‘blah, blah, blah, blah, blah,'” he said.
For Josh, the city’s violations seemed to have no teeth, and he ignored neighbors complaints.
“The neighbors didn’t come to me and say anything.”
Neighbors, however, have video of Josh in May 2019 when they confronted him about cleaning up the debris.
“Common sense to know it is a problem, said the Civic League President Elvira Johnson-Williams Tuesday as she looked out on Josh cleaning up the yard — before the junk was anonymously taken.
“I’m loving it. This should never have happened. I’m loving it, and it’s going to look better and I hope everyone takes note. They don’t need to have this in their neighborhood, she said.
Johnson-Williams thinks once the yard got 10 On Your Side’s attention, ignoring the problem was no longer an option.
“When it becomes a nuisance, and you can’t get the help from the city, and you want the city to know what is going on, then you need to call 10 On Your Side,” Johnson-Williams said.
Josh isn’t happy his stuff was is gone, but neighbors reporting back to 10 On Your Side say they’re happy they got their neighborhood back.