Costly illegal dumping crackdown in San Jose

It’s a new push to clean up illegal dumping in the South Bay, but it’s not going to be cheap. City leaders say the project will cost roughly $300,000 to remove trash and debris along the neglected stretch of road of Monterey Road in South San Jose.

On Monday, first day of clean-up, crews collected 60 tons of trash. The mounds of garbage and debris has been a problem for years but it’s been made worse because of the pandemic and the homeless encampments now there.

On Monday, crews with the City of San Jose and Union Pacific Railroad began cleaning up massive piles of trash, old appliances and rundown cars littering Monterey Road near Bailey Avenue.

“I’ve said all along when I’ve talked to residents about this,” said San Jose City Councilmember Sergio Jimenez. “I’m just as frustrated as they are.”

Jimenez is the city councilmember who represents the area and said the debris is the length of a football field.

On Monday, the city picked up 300 tires and 25 abandoned vehicles. He expects by week’s end, 300 tons of garbage will be collected.

“This happened because we didn’t pay as much attention to this as we need to,” said Jimenez. “The larger it gets, the more expensive it gets.”

“They don’t even want to come down here, they don't want to see that at all,” said Mickey Clements, Coyote Bait & Tackle general manager. “It’s a grim reminder of the problem the city has right now.”

Clements is happy cleanup is finally underway yet he fears trash will return in a few months.

“We’re providing industrial grade garbage bags along the encampments along that route,” said HomeFirst CEO Andrea Urton.

HomeFirst is providing outreach services to more than a dozen homeless individuals at encampments there. One mother and her two children are now staying at the Camden Community Shelter.

“We need to be more proactive and I think we need to get it to where it’s a maintenance stage of sorts,” said Jimenez.

Jimenez said new measures the city is looking at include building a barrier along Emado Avenue to make it less accessible to cars, clearing out brush and trimming down trees to expose those illegally dumping and police patrols.

At Tuesday’s San Jose city council meeting, city leaders will discuss allocating an additional $3 million to address blight and litter throughout the city as well as explore cameras to capture video proof of illegal dumping.