US Mayor Article

Mayor Brown Announces Operation Renaissance Cleanup Program

By Jennifer DeLong
March 20, 2000

On February 29th, Mayor Lee P. Brown announced an innovative new pilot program designed to clean up neighborhoods in Houston’s Second and Third wards. Operation Renaissance is a multi-phase Neighborhood Oriented Government program that combines City and community resources to effectively rid streets of illegal dumping and other nuisances that effect the vitality of a neighborhood. The program was developed in response to concerns from residents about the health and safety of their community.

“This is what Neighborhood Oriented Government is all about,” said Mayor Brown, “going to the people, learning from them what their concerns, their problems, their issues are, and then doing something about their problems, their concerns, and their issues.”

The first phase of the program involves a massive crackdown on illegal dumping and heavy trash violations. The City’s departments of Solid Waste Management, Planning and Development, and Public Works and Engineering (Neighborhood Protection Division) will begin a massive cleanup of the area. The Houston Police Department’s South Central Division will then work to identify, issue citations to and/or arrest anyone found illegally dumping. City inspectors will also be issuing heavy trash violation citations.

“Officers and citizens will work together to identify those locations where suspects are dumping trash in the community,” said Police Chief C.O. Bradford. “We will also utilize cameras to monitors the locations. We are not just trying to get the trash removed as soon as possible; we are trying to get the suspects in custody, cited, and fined.”

“I learned a long time ago that a neighborhood that looks bad, more than likely it is going to be a neighborhood where crime flourishes,” said Mayor Brown. Operation Renaissance is a partnership between city employees, business leaders, the residents and anyone who has a stake in this neighborhood to make it a better place in which to live, work or visit.”

Graffiti also contributes to the blight of a neighborhood, so Operation Renaissance includes a component focusing on graffiti abatement. Mayor Brown was presented the keys to a new van dubbed the “Graffiti Mobile,” donated by Don Massey Cadillac. HPD South Central Command will facilitate the use of the van by the community to identify and cover up graffiti in their neighborhoods using paint recycled through the Solid Waste Department. Studies have shown that quick and continual abatement of graffiti is effective in preventing future graffiti.

“The neighborhoods are the foundation of a city,” said Solid Waste Director Everett Bass. “But neighborhoods are not just streets and houses. Neighborhoods are people.  The success of a program like this depends upon the partnership between the City and the community.”

“It is not just about being here today,” said Mayor Brown. “We will continue to come back and make sure that we keep the neighborhood clean. I am proud to be the Mayor of a City where the community, the schools, business and city government come together.