CHICAGO (CBS) — The CBS 2 Morning Insiders got the scoop on the poop heard ’round the world.
Our video showed a pigeon relieving itself on an Illinois lawmaker as he talked about a problem at the Irving Park Blue Line station. It got international attention, but more importantly, it seems to have caught the eye of leaders locally.
CBS 2’s Lauren Victory met back up with Illinois state Rep. Jaime Andrade (D-Chicago) for this latest report. This time, they shot their interview strategically, given that a pigeon pooped on Andrade’s head as they spoke last time.
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Victory: “Did you ever think that a pigeon would get you name recognition?”
Andrade: “Not that much. Not at this level.”
At the Kennedy Expressway underpass at Irving Park Road, where the entrance to the Blue Line station is located, the pigeons’ waste, feathers, and filth create a gross hopscotch game for commuters.
Last time, of course, Andrade couldn’t dodge said pigeons. The pigeon pooping video clip made headlines across the city, the country, and even the ocean.
“Farthest place I’ve heard so far is Spain,” Andrade said.
His feces fame is not for naught. Andrade said he spotted men in yellow vests hard at work after our most recent story aired.
“They said they were out here taking measurements from one of the agencies,” Andrade said. “I’ve been trying to get a real cost, price for over a year. You do the story and they’re out here, measurements just within a few days?”
The Chicago Transit Authority said it sent Landmark Pest Management crews to remove garbage from pigeon netting. As to whether they are working on something long-term, the CTA refused to say.
So Victory decided to learn more about Landmark. Its parent company, ABC Humane Wildlife Control and Prevention, is hired by several departments in Chicago and at the state level.
Landmark President Rebecca Fyffe told Victory that a city contract prevents her from speaking specifically about plans for the Irving Park station. But she pointed CBS 2 to her company’s pigeon abatement work at the Lawrence Red Line station in 2010.
Today, that area is fairly clean by city standards.
CBS 2 is told that Ald. James Cappleman (46th) pushed for the project after several pigeon-related complaints. Cappleman’s spokesman said bird poop was also causing CTA equipment to degrade, so the CTA picked up the bill – to the tune of $150,000.
When asked if that figure scared him, Andrade said it did not.
“No, no, I hope it’s that,” he said.
But Andrade’s problem is that Irving Park comes with jurisdiction issues. The Blue Line station is CTA property, but other parts of the overpass belong to the Illinois Department of Transportation.
“Our constituents don’t care. All they want is the situation solved,” Andrade said. “This story has brought attention all the way to the top, so that I know.”
We’ll wait, and so will the pigeons – who are so comfortable along the overpass that even a train won’t make them flinch.
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