Vince Gray is really getting the hang of the whole shutdown mayor thing. After keeping the city operating despite the federal government shutdown, Gray has told Department of Public Works garbage collectors to start picking up trash in the city’s federally owned parks.

The city won’t be collecting trash at barricaded national monuments. Instead, the garbage trucks are focusing on the community parks that are, by a quirk of D.C.’s legal status, the responsibility of the largely furloughed National Park Service. The city doesn’t expect to be reimbursed by the feds once the shutdown is over.

The pick-ups, which started on Wednesday, are aimed at preventing rats from feasting on the trash left behind in the parks. Lincoln Square and other parks in Capitol Hill have the worst rat problems, according to mayoral spokesman Pedro Ribeiro.

The abandoned garbage cans are yet another reason for Gray to be frustrated with Congress.  “I think he’s getting ready to get out there with a pitchfork pretty soon,” Ribeiro says.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery