Inside the Gnarly Task of Cleaning Up LA's Skid Row
Razor blades, drugs, dead rodents collected during city's sweep
By Liam Carnahan,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 10, 2012 2:38 PM CDT
Sanitation workers in a protective suits clean a street in the heart of the Skid Row district in downtown Los Angeles on June 20, 2012.   (AP Photo/Nick Ut)

(Newser) – It wasn't a task for the faint of heart: After nearly two weeks spent cleaning up LA's Skid Row, city officials walked away with five tons of trash. And what they found over a six-mile span is enough to make one's stomach turn—among hundreds of needles, scores of weapons, and even a few walkers and wheelchairs, workers cleared away soiled mattresses, dead rodents, and buckets full of human waste, the Los Angeles Times reports. Not everyone applauded the cleanup, though.

Last year, a federal court issued an injunction that limited such efforts, following complaints that unattended belongings were taken from the sidewalks while their owners were in court, using the bathroom, or otherwise occupied. Some activists claim the city let Skid Row fall into disrepair in order to make a stronger case against the injunction. The city denies this, but things had gotten so bad that the buildup of trash was deemed a public health hazard, and city officials got the green light to proceed with the cleanup.

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