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Panhandlers leaving behind big mess

If you travel Highway 280 and pass the I-459 exit often, odds are you've seen panhandlers who gather there.{}

These men and women beg for money.{} And, in the process leave behind a huge mess.

Garbage is strewn down the side of the hill and is accumulating on Colonnade parkway.

Anne Rose, lives near the parkway. She sees the panhandlers almost every day.

"We've had anywhere from one or two (panhandlers) that get dropped off by car versus about a dozen a time that come in on the MAX buses," says Rose. "They literally will take turns about who gets their chance on the top of the bridge. We get regulars."

Rose says she can understand how people may not notice a trend with panhandlers in the area.

"I think that in the few moments that you're sitting there waiting to get on Highway 280, people probably aren't noticing the turnover. It's those of us who live here and seen the regulars over and over and over again, and watch literally as the posts change that we realize there's a pattern."The part of the bridge where many of the panhandlers gather is where the piles of rubbish begin. "It's just nasty," says Rose. "We would really like it if someone would come out here and clean up the mess."

She says garbage bags have been dropped off to encourage the panhandlers to pick up their own mess.

Some of that garbage includes beer cans and liquor bottles. Those can found close to several different signs, many which end with the phrase "God bless.""As much as we want to help people, I don't think this is the best way to help people," says Rose.So who is responsible to clean up the mess?Don Lupo, director of the mayor's office of citizens assistance confirms the area is within city limits.

But, the section under the Highway 280 over pass is a right-of-way for ALDOT. "Everyone wants to determine whose right-of-way it is. Well, really and truly what matters is, that the litter is out there and it needs to be picked up," says Lupo.Lupo says his office was unaware of the litter issue on Colonnade parkway."Regardless of what right-of-way it's on, we're going to go pick it up. Because it's in the city of Birmingham. Because we want things to be nice, be clean and be safe."

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