Atlas Manufacturing Inc, one of the DC area's leading structural steel fabricators, occupies an unassuming property at 3707 Martin Luther King Avenue SE, just north of the earthwork remains of Fort Carroll. It shares a commercial strip with the Unity of Love Praise Temple, the Fort Carroll Deli, and the Opportunities Industrialization Center.
While Atlas proprietor Calvin L. Reid has worked to clean-up the woods behind his building, the rest of the block has one of the largest concentrations of man-made debris in all of Shepherd Parkway.
After three years of focusing our trash removal efforts further north, this area remained untouched, in part because it is difficult to access from the street.
When I asked Mr. Reid to open up his property to assist in getting the junk out of the woods, knew he would be supportive, but I was not expecting him bring six workers and his granddaughter, nor was I expecting him to offer us the use of his flatbed truck.
On Saturday, May 2, the whole Atlas team worked alongside ten alumni from John's Hopkins University to carry debris through a back gate into the Atlas facility, where it was loaded onto the truck. After an hour and a half the truck was full, but a continuous flow of tires, mattresses, car parts, construction materials and trash bags full of clothing and beer bottles continued through the gate. Soon the mountain of trash next to the truck was larger than the truck.
We estimate the weight of trash removed at three tons, or 6,000 pounds. It was the second largest single-day haul in the history of the Committee to Restore Shepherd Parkway, surpassed only by the heroics of the April 2012 of the We Love You Foundation, which number over 200. On a per person basis, it was by far our most productive clean-up ever.
Reid has vowed to continue cleaning the area until only soil, rocks, plants, and animal remain.