Yakima hopes to use 'Code Rangers' to clean up the city

Yakima hopes to use 'Code Rangers' to clean up the city

YAKIMA, Wash. -- Messy yards and tall weeds are hazardous and ugly and, more importantly, they're illegal.

"A lot of the areas, I'm sorry, just look terrible," said Daniel Newbrough who lives in Yakima. "Looks atrocious."

It's up to Yakima's three code enforcement officers to enforce this law. They take hundreds of complaints and issue citations. But it's an uphill battle with complaints on nearly every block.

"Something needs to be done," Newbrough said.

The city agrees. Yakima hopes to enlist a large group of so-called "code rangers" to volunteer as compliance officers. These rangers would knock on doors and politely tell neighbors about the problem.

Another idea is to have those code rangers leave a to-do list for the violators. It's a non-confrontational way to make the homeowner clean up."

"Some people will equate low income with low class," said KC Webber. "I don't think that way."

Webber thinks the program can work. He's already a member of a block watch and says the concept is a good one.

"We're here to say, no we do care. And, we can make a difference," he said.

KC believes crime and a trashy yard go hand and hand.

"I'm a true believer that if you have a messy house or messy yard or messy neighborhood, you're basically saying 'come one, come all bad guys' because they're going to look at that neighborhood and say 'oh they don't care about the way it looks.'"

The city hopes the code rangers will help the city's image and turn the atrocious into clean, safe neighborhoods.

"A lot of bad things that go on, has a lot to do with the image of the area, of the city," Newbrough said. "If you clean that up, it's not going to get rid of it but it's going to help."

Code rangers will go through a training program. Yakima is still working to finalize the details.

Action News will let you know when you can sign up to be a code ranger.