Spring cleaning for Pajaro, as volunteers prep for power wash Saturday
PAJARO, Calif. - In many households, the weekend brings washday. But in Pajaro, Saturday will see a needed scrubbing - nearly everywhere.
"We’re gonna try something that we’ve never done before. And I don’t think it’s been done, ever," said Kevin Cox, of Hope Crisis Response Network.
He planned to wash away residual mud that still cakes curbsides and sits under homes.
"It was horrible. You just don’t know what you’re stepping into," said Orlando Calderon.
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He still had high watermarks and mud to clean from two properties on Fremont Street. He said volunteers recently helped him with some of the work.
"I love having help. Couldn’t have done it without them. The help of the people who are out there at the Pajaro Middle School helping us out - if it wasn’t for them, I don’t know how far I would have been," said Calderon.
Cox set up his base of operations at the middle school. He hopes 300 altruistic people from all over the region will show up Saturday morning, and lend a hand.
His plan has eight teams with power washers and shovels, moving west from Lewis Road and east from San Juan Road – ultimately meeting in the middle of the city.
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"And try to get as much mud out of the community as possible. But we also want to leave the community better than we found it. So we’re gonna go through, we’re gonna sweep every street," he said.
The mess from the mud is more than just an eyesore. It’s also a potential health risk. Experts said living in these conditions can and does make people sick.
"Anytime you have kind of sitting mud, and it’s wet, mold can occur," said Dr. Kathrine Cushing, chairwoman of the San Jose State University Department of Environmental Studies. "There are certain health concerns associated with that. Especially people with upper respiratory conditions, like asthma."
Cox said his crews will also disinfect underneath homes once inundated with flood water and mud. The entire operation Saturday is expected to take eight hours.
When completed, he is hopeful the effort will help residents already facing an uphill climb overcoming flooding get unstuck from the mud.
"We’re just trying to put the community back to before the flood, as best we can," said Cox.
Jesse Gary is a reporter based in the station's South Bay bureau. Follow him on Twitter, @JesseKTVU and Instagram, @jessegontv