DURHAM — Barry Ragin stopped counting the tires strewn along a creek bank off Markham Avenue at 35.
He raised the concern on a neighborhood e-mail list last month. City officials contacted this week said they hadn't heard of it.
City workers, after a couple of days of internal discussion about who was responsible, cleared the tires Thursday, as well as some engine parts along the creek bank.
Ragin hoped the city would find who was responsible for the mess near the intersection of Markham Avenue and Washington Street.
"In this instance, we do not know the culprit," said Constance Stancil, director of the Neighborhood Improvement Services department.
"We did investigate by speaking to the neighborhoods that were unable to provide any identifying information. These particular items have no distinguishing characteristics that are easily traced."
Most of the tires were on land, though they could have been underwater before the drought all but dried up the creek.
Paul Wiebke, Durham's assistant stormwater manager, said the tires pose no risk to the water quality.
That has been backed up by a national expert, Dana Humphrey, a University of Maine professor.
"It's more of an aesthetic and bulk trash issue," Wiebke said.
"Especially the engine parts. They weren't small engines either. It's kind of like, gee whiz, why can't people dispose of their trash properly?"
If you see any debris littering a waterway or other natural area in Durham, call Durham OneCall at 560-1200.
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