SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) — The city of San Jose and Union Pacific Railroad on Monday began cleaning up one of the biggest illegal dumpsites the South Bay has seen.

San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo and three councilmembers are set to introduce a plan at Tuesday’s city council meeting that will dedicate $1 million a month until the end of the year to clean illegal dumpsites and pick up trash from the streets.

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On Monday morning, crews began tackling the trash that has been piling up for months along Monterey Highway and Bailey Avenue in South San Jose.

“It’s horrible. It’s terrible,” said Mia Caballero, who lives in a homeless camp nearby.

She said people began dropping off a few items at the beginning of the pandemic, supposedly as donations for homeless people. Then it just grew.

“They just show up in cars and trucks and they do it fast. They pull up and they just dump throw it where ever and they take off. You don’t even see it half the time,” Caballero said.

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Monday, she joined the work crews from the city of San Jose and Union Pacific to help clean it up.

“People are at home now, and people have decided to replace appliances. We want people to do that but we also want for people to dispose of those items appropriately,” said Olympia Williams of Beautify San Jose, a city agency that is supervising the clean-up.

The clean-up is partially funded by the city of San Jose, which is spending $3 million between now and the end of the year to pick up illegally dumped trash
throughout the city.

“So we’ll be looking at areas like this that are dumping hot spots as well as other areas where trash is just strewn throughout the city,” Williams said.

While the cleanup was going on, some people came by to salvage some of the items that are still useful.

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“Everything I have, I found. Everything,” said Jim Smith, a homeless man who lives nearby.