Coos County man behind 'Leaven No Trace' project cited for 'offensive littering'

(File photo/SBG)

COOS COUNTY -- The man responsible for a clean-up effort in Coos County called 'Leaven No Trace' was cited Wednesday along with another man by Coos County Sheriff's Office.

Citations for 'Offensive Littering' were issued to Raymond Furr (AKA Raymond Block) and Jared Vaara. Police say they were depositing trash in the county right-of-way without lawful authority.

"The trash that Mr. Furr is stacking along the County right-of-way and the persons operating along the right-of-way with him are creating potential road hazards, which pose a significant financial liability risk to the County," the sheriff's office said in a news release. "Mr. Furr has been notified about his ongoing operations on multiple occasions. This should not have come as a surprise to Mr. Furr or anyone associated with 'Leaven No Trace.'"

Earlier this year, Coos County was approached by Furr to assist him and his organization, 'Leaven No Trace,' with the disposal of trash and tires that Furr had collected and stored in the County right-of-way at various locations. Recognizing Furr’s passion for his project and that Furr had already placed a significant amount of trash in the county right-of-way, County Commissioners agreed to accept ten tons of tires at the County landfill, free of charge to him but at a cost to the County of $150.00/ton of tires and $95.27/ton of trash, the sheriff's office said. Les’ Sanitation agreed to haul the trash to the landfill, also at no cost to Furr.

The sheriff's office said Furr continued to stack tires and trash in the County right-of-way, and County Commissioners agreed to accept trash until June 15, 2016, at a total cost of $10,722.36 to the County in waived fees. At a Commissioner’s work session on April 13, 2016, "Furr was clearly advised that the County would no longer be able to afford accepting the trash free of charge after June 15 and that Furr’s permit to operate in the County right-of-way would expire as of June 15, 2016.," the sheriffs office said. "By letter of June 2, 2016, the County reminded Mr. Furr that his permit would be expiring and advised him that placing trash in the right-of-way after June 15th 'may be considered offensive littering and/or illegal dumping.'"

Commissioners also advised Furr that if he was able to provide proof of liability insurance for him and those assisting him, naming the County as an additional insured, as well as proof of permission from landowners to be on their property collecting tires and garbage, the County may consider revisiting the issue, the sheriff's office said. "However, the County cannot afford to take the tires/trash free of charge. Mr. Furr was advised that he was trespassing when he entered these private properties without permission, and he was further advised that he was putting the County at significant financial risk by operating without insurance. The County also attempted to refer Mr. Furr to a non-profit that conducts similar activities so he could take the steps necessary to operate legally."

According to the sheriff's office, Furr has "refused to abide by the reasonable requests of the County," and, "to the County’s knowledge, has never obtained liability insurance for himself or his 'workers.'”

"To the County’s knowledge he has not sought the permission of any private landowners to operate on their property. He has continued to operate in the County right-of-way without a permit," the news release states.

"The County cannot allow Mr. Furr’s operations to continue without obtaining a permit from the County Public Works Department. A permit will not be issued without proof of adequate liability insurance for all those operating in the right-of-way, proof of adequate worker’s compensation insurance for all employees operating in the right-of-way, and proof of permission from all landowners where operations are taking place," the sheriff's office said in the release.

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