It is not uncommon to see dumpsites spring up in places they do not belong after a major disaster, especially in low income communities. In this case the Port Arthur Mayor Derrick Freeman, felt it was a good idea to designate a "temporary" dumpsite in a residential area, without informing the City Council. This means that much of the entire city's toxic building materials (with asbestos and mold) ruined furniture (covered in mold) food (thawed and rotting) has been dumped across the street from the homes where elderly people and children live.
We protested, called City Council-members and the media.
Initially when we protested and Councilman Harold Doucet spoke with the Mayor and his staff, the Mayor claimed ignorance of this being a residential area. His staff and himself agreed with City Councilman Harold Doucet that this site had to be moved to a different location away from residences. He verbally committed to having the dumping stopped withing 24 hours. So the neighborhood was relieved.
However, the dumping continued. Upon hearing about this, we blocked the road so that the dump trucks couldn't continue against the Mayor's commitment of ceasing site operations within 24 hours.
The out of state contractors were upset and knew nothing about the dumping stopping. Confusion ensued. Finally the police arrived and requested that the road block be removed. Then at long last Mayor Freeman arrived, extending a friendly greeting to everyone but the people taking a stand for that community. We were informed that the roadblocks had to be removed and the dumping would continue.
At this point it became clear that the Mayor had conveniently forgotten his commitment to having the dumpsite moved and was complete unconcerned with the health and burden he had placed on these residents. He even claimed that the residents were perfectly content with the dumpsite being next to their homes. So to disprove that, we started a petition. The results of the petition shows that residents are NOT content. We intend to show this to the Mayor and the City Council and ask them again to find an appropriate site for his dumping.
Update: On October 10, 2017 City Manager Brian McDougal ensured us that the dumpsite will be cleaned up by no later than August of 2018.