Bakersfield Homeless Center clean up crew already collected 400 bags of trash

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - It has been just over a week since a crew from the Homeless Center and Kern County inmates picked up the first piece of trash from local freeways.

Ever since the contract between Cal Trans and Shafter Community Correction Facility expired in July 2011, the trash started piling up along side our freeways.

"For a very long time our freeways needed attention," said Louis Gill of the Bakersfield Homeless Center.  

But now that the crews are getting the freeways clean Mayor Harvey Hall said that they "are finally going to make a difference."

That difference was made possible, in part, due to hefty grant from Cal Trans and local collaboration efforts.

"Because of this partnership with the City of Bakersfield, Cal Trans, Kern Council of Governments and Keep Bakersfield Beautiful, we are making this happen," said Gill.

And while they are making it happen they've encountered many things.

"We have seen everything from money to dead animals and believe it or not, there is body waste people throw away," said James Dorton, a member of the clean up crew.

Crews from the homeless shelter will pick up trash from the freeways five days a week and minimum security county inmates will remove weeds and pick up trash on the on and off ramps and medians.

That work is in addition to volunteer work that is already in place.

"I have been doing the mayor's freeway clean-up for nine years," said Mayor Hall.  "And to finally get the funding opportunities through the Kern Council of Governments, Cal Trans, we are able to pull this all together."

"These crews have been out here for just over a week and so far they have picked up more than 400 bags of trash and they have a message for the community: Please wait a minute until you get to a receptacle to throw your trash away.  Don't throw it out here, we have enough work already."



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