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'A Mess Out There' - San Jose Looks At Spending $3 Million On Cleaning Illegal Dumpsites, Blight

SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) – Mayor Sam Liccardo said it's time to target trash in San Jose.

Liccardo and three councilmembers will introduce a plan at a city council meeting on September 22nd that will dedicate $1 million a month until the end of the year to clean illegal dumpsites and pick up trash from the streets.

"It has become a mess out there," said Mayor Sam Liccardo at a virtual news conference on Monday afternoon.

"Illegal dumping abatement, blight busting, whatever you call it. We're going to triple the budget between now and the end of this year so we can get a handle on this very big challenge," Liccardo said.

San Jose Illegal Dumping, Blight
A junked car at an illegal dump site near Monterey Road and Bailey Avenue in San Jose. (CBS)

San Jose officials said the city already cleans up 45 tons of trash from the streets every week.

The proposal is for San Jose to spend an additional $3 million until the end of year to hire contractors to pick up even more.

"I think the citizens who live here have kind of reached their limit," said Julie Riera Matsushima, a downtown neighbor.

Riera Matsushima is part of a group of downtown neighbors who started to pick up trash themselves and put pressure on the city and property owners to do the same.

They've prompted a cleanup of a rat-infested dumping ground beneath the Interstate 280 freeway and got the city to place dumpsters near homeless camps so people on the streets can take out the trash.

"I think we've rattled a lot of cages, so this is very positive action," Riera Matsushima said.

Some of the worst dumping is on areas of mixed responsibility like Caltrans freeway ramps and Union Pacific rail lines.

Liccardo said the city is seeking agreements and accountability with those agencies.

"It's really insuring that we have a clear transparent view of what everyone is going to do, how much and how," the mayor said.

Neighbors said they'll be watching too.

"No, we do not let up.  We're going to keep the pressure on," Riera Matsushima told KPIX 5.

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