LAST WEEK, I stopped by the New World Shopping Plaza, at 6th and Washington, after a neighbor complained about overflowing Dumpsters that were taking over a corner of the lot.

The Marquis checked back Wednesday afternoon and the Dumpsters were nearly full, but were far from overflowing into the parking lot.

Progress may be slow, but it's a start.

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PARKING-LOT BLUES: An Indian restaurant, a Chinese takeout, a pizza place and a salon are among businesses sharing the block on Oakland Street near Cottman Avenue, in the Northeast - and the trash that litters the crumbling parking lot behind the stores is arguably as diverse as the services.

Don Agriss, who lives behind the lot, said he's called the 3-1-1 help line to report the problem but hasn't gotten any results.

"What surprises me is, none of the store owners who use that parking lot complain," Agriss said.

But the Marquis found out that they do, and it revealed something of a division among the businesses.

"I went and I've spoken to city officials, I've spoken to police officers and I've spoken to people from sanitation," said Richard Smith, a general manager at Nick's Roast Beef, which shares the lot with businesses on the block.

Smith said that he maintains his section of the lot but that employees from the other ones don't. Absentee landlords from whom the other businesses rent space may be part of the problem, because no one else is holding them accountable, he said.

"Unfortunately, it reflects on our business also," Smith said, glancing toward the trash pile.

Taste of Mogul - the Indian restaurant near the site of the trash pile and potholes - leases its space from an owner who lives in Brooklyn, according to the city Office of Property Assessment.

Bunty Kumar, a restaurant employee, said that his co-workers tidy up three times a week. But so many people use the alley behind the lot to cut from Oakland to nearby Horrocks or Souder streets, the effort is virtually useless, he said.

Sounds like those folks should join forces.

IN OTHER NEWS: The Marquis has gotten wind that Rep. Jewell Williams, Democratic nominee for sheriff, and at-large Councilman Bill Green formed the "Keepin' it Clean Posse" this week. They're working to remove campaign literature that was left behind from the primary election.

For that, the Marquis and fed-up Philadelphians would like to say thank you.

And you, dear readers, need to tell me how well those guys follow through.