Tony Reed
Del Norte Triplicate

Flanked by a Pelican Bay State Prison official and members of the local Lions Club, Del Norte County Supervisor Roger Gitlin recently asked the Crescent City Council for a contribution toward deploying a prison crew to clean up the center median of U.S. 101 north of town.

It was previously explained that only state employees are allowed to clean the center area, and that volunteer groups such as Gitlin’s Take a Bite out of Blight program cannot.

Last Monday during public comment, Gitlin said he had a productive meeting with prison officials and City Councilor Darren Short. At a previous council meeting, Short, a prison employee, questioned whether it would be possible to deploy a crew there.

Gitlin introduced Lions Club members Sheila and Jim Coop. Noting he is also a Lions member, Gitlin said, “We clean up about two miles of the perimeters (of U.S. 101) as part of the Caltrans Program, and we do a pretty good job every six weeks. Unfortunately, a lot of that trash blows into the median and we’re not permitted to go out there.”

Gitlin said Caltrans will accept all help in the effort.

“We have Caltrans in the loop and of course, our county has already allocated $1,000 and we hope the city will place this on the agenda and match those funds so we can start the program as soon as we go through the hurdles we need to go through,” he said.

PBSP Community Resource Manager Robert Lasaco said Warden James Robertson is dedicated to the idea of reimplementing the work program.

“There are a number of hurdles that need to be jumped,” he said. “Standardized staffing is one of the things in the way of this, but we’re definitely trying to find some other ways to get crews out there.”

Lasaco told council the goal is not impossible, but may take a while to reach due to bureaucracy. Gitlin said should the effort be stymied by bureaucracy, the money could be transferred back to the city’s general fund.

Council took the request under advisement for possible action when it meets Oct. 1.