Trash, homeless camps found around Albuquerque ahead of Balloon Fiesta

People in Albuquerque aren’t shy when asked about the overall look of Albuquerque.  

“Trash flying around in people’s faces while you’re biking,” said William Weaver. 

“You feel like there’s a lot of homeless people,” said Christopher Lerma.  

The city is just about a week away from Balloon Fiesta – its biggest attraction, drawing more than half a million tourists.

However, those visitors may be welcomed by homeless camps under the Big I, or trash littered along major roads like Paseo del Norte.

A dirt lot next to the old Spearmint Rhino was full of garbage, filthy clothing, syringes and used hygiene products. 

“They’re not gonna have a good feel for the city. They’re gonna think the city’s trashy,” said Pietro Izzo.  

People who KRQE News 13 spoke to think it’s a bad look for the city.

“I think for tourists it’s going to give a very poor impression, like they just can’t keep their city clean, you know,” said Weaver. 

KRQE News 13 asked both the Department of Transportation and the city if anything will be done about all the mess along the highways. 

“We’re definitely gearing up for the Balloon Fiesta and we’re having crews out and about working towards beautifying this area for the traveling public,” said Kimberly Gallegos with DOT.  

She said they’ve already been alerted about the homeless camps under the interchange.  

“We do work very close with the city in removing these homeless camps, but unfortunately they do pop up. Once you take one down, two more pop up down the way,” said Gallegos.  

DOT also says their maintenance crews do routine cleanups along interstates and highways. 

“We realize that a lot of people are traveling here for this event, and we do our best to prepare in advance,” she said. 

The dirt lot next to the old Spearmint Rhino was cleaned up by the city – although it’s private property, a city spokesperson said it looked so bad they needed to clean it up. 

The city’s annual Balloon Fiesta clean-up kicks off this Saturday. Volunteers will help clean up around the park, and city crews will also be out leading up to Fiesta cleaning all medians, highways and ramps. 

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