The Missoula County Commissioners declared a state of emergency Thursday, giving the county authority to remove trash that has accumulated from people living underneath the Reserve Street Bridge.
County Commissioners Juanita Vero and Dave Strohmaier, along with Missoula County Public Works crews cleaned up the site Friday.
The Montana Department of Transportation owns the land beneath the bridge, which previously prevented the county from accessing the property. The emergency declaration allows local authorities to take care of the immediate environmental, health and safety concerns in the area while river levels remain relatively steady, according to the press release.
The emergency declaration does not authorize the removal of people or personal belongings from the property. Four individuals still live underneath the bridge, the press release stated. Members of the cleanup effort will inform those living there about their alternative, legal camping options, including the Authorized Camping Site and the Temporary Safe Outdoor Space.
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