San Jose joined forces with Union Pacific Railroad earlier this week to begin a massive undertaking to clean up a large homeless encampment and illegal dump site along Monterey Road near the southern end of the city.
The coordinated clean-up effort came after residents sent hundreds of calls and emails to city leaders and create an online petition, which now has more than 3.600 signatures, to urge city officials to clean up nearly a milelong stretch of Monterey Road along the Union Pacific Railroad tracks where the dumping has grown out of control in recent months.
The site has been littered with all kinds of trash and discarded materials — from furniture and appliances to abandoned vehicles and tires to bags of trash and debris. Multiple fires have also broken out at the encampment, destroying tents of unhoused individuals living there and causing officials to close down nearby roadways to get the blazes under control.
Hoping to get a handle on an exponential increase in illegal dumping that has occurred since the start of the pandemic, San Jose is finally pumping up its efforts to clean up the growing blight and illegal dumping mounting in pockets across the city.
On Tuesday night, the San Jose City Council is expected to pass a plan that will allocate an additional $3 million toward cleaning up the most “highly visible” and “high-traffic” illegal dump sites in the city over the next three months.
“COVID-19 and this recession have exacted a severe toll on our city, but there’s much we can do to improve the quality of life of our communities,” Mayor Sam Liccardo said in a recent statement. “Collectively, we can do far more to bolster our battle against blight– by the City stepping up its efforts, but also by demanding that our partner public agencies take responsibility for cleaning their own property on our freeways, in our creeks, and railroads.”