By Nicholas Grube

Triplicate staff writer

Thursday's removal of hazardous ash and dirt piles from a Crescent City property marked the end of a long and expensive cleanup that began in Gasquet nearly five months ago.

The lot, located at 1470 Union Street, belongs to Doug Anderson, and contained a burn pile with high levels of lead contamination. A crew from California Intergrated Waste Management excavated the mess and hauled it over 600 miles to a hazardous waste facility in Buttonwillow.

Del Norte County Code Enforcerment Officer Dave Mason said this should be the tail-end of $500,000 state-funded public nuisance cleanup that involved Anderson and two other Del Norte County residents.

Daniel Ruth and Roy Ruth owned properties at Jawbone Road in Gasquet and Dakota Avenue in Crescent City that already were cleaned using the state-funding.

The elder, Daniel Ruth, was the first to have his property razed after officials found more than 3,000 tires on his land.

Anderson was convicted on March 29, 2006, of three counts of maintaining a public nuisance.

Before Thursday, cleanup crews already hauled off about 125 cars and an estimated 480 cubic yards of solid waste - enough solid waste to cover Del Norte High School's Thunen Gym basketball court with three feet of trash.

Mason said that he and the county are cracking down on blighted properties because they breed crime. Once the county starts cleaning these dilapidated areas up, he said, it has a positive, cascading effect on the neighborhood.