The cleanup of decades of accumulated garbage at Pacific Shores subdivision is nearly done, but may need more funding to finish it off, according to Supervisor Gerry Hemmingsen.
The county has been working with other agencies and individuals since late last year to clean up several individual lots and illegal dumpsites in the area and to date have removed almost 200 tons of garbage from various areas.
He said the cleanup removed 102 tires, 31 mattresses and couches, and much other refuse totaling 196 tons.
“It would be well over 200 tons of you include all the trailers and frames we took out of there,” he said, estimating it could be the largest single cleanup ever conducted in the county.
Hemmingsen added while the project is almost done, the funding for it is dwindling. He estimated another $10,000 in equipment costs and dump fees may be needed to complete the project and pave the way for the pending monitoring station to be placed at the corner of Tell Boulevard and Kellogg Road.
County Community Development Director Heidi Kunstal said the county is tracking the remaining funding to see if it will cover what remains to be cleaned.
Once cleaned, a guard station will be set up to deter and report future dumping in the area. Hemmingsen, who was credited for the concept, explained the idea for a host station came about when the county was having issues with long-term campground hosts.
He said he knew a man who was essentially homeless at the time, living in the area.
“I thought, ‘Here’s a way to make him not homeless, and give him a purpose out there,” Hemmingsen said.
County roads crews cleared a spot for the RV, county IT staff have ordered security cameras and signs will be erected in the area warning people against illegal dumping.
Kunstal said if the host observes possible illegal dumping, they will turn the information over to Code Enforcement Officer Dominic Mello.
“If it’s something criminal, of course, he’ll contact the sheriff’s office,” she said.
Sacramento attorney Kelly Smith has been representing the property owners association for years. Smith explained where the funding for the project came from during the project kickoff last December.
“Two lawsuits disputed use of special taxes paid by Pacific Shores property owners to the Pacific Shores California Subdivision Water District and proceeds from the sales of tax defaulted Pacific Shores properties,” said a release from Pacific Shores Property Owners Association. “The District dissolved in 2008. Funds, amounting to $176,028.03, after payment of attorney fees, were lodged with the Del Norte County Superior Court in 2007 and have remained with the Court ever since.”
Hemmingsen noted the intent of the funding was it be used for the benefit of the property owners, so $50,000 was given to them to clean up their properties in order to transfer those properties to the state.
Hemmingsen said the Department of Fish and Wildlife spent more than $30,000 on dump fees and as part of the agreement, the county has patched the dilapidated roads in the area, as well as install and maintain the guard station.
Hemmingsen credited several individuals and agencies for their help on the project, saying the “boots on the ground” effort to clean up the blighted properties was outstanding.
“It was a coordinated effort that worked really smoothly to get it all done,” said Hemmingsen. “If we can get this last little bit done,it will be a good thing for everybody.”