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14,000+ pounds of trash: The cleanup efforts underway in the Salinas Riverbed

Posted at 4:40 PM, Dec 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-22 20:28:15-05

Major cleanup efforts are underway in the Paso Robles Salinas Riverbed.

"They cleaned up over 14,000 pounds of trash," said Commander Stephen Lampe of the Paso Robles Police Department.

Police snapped before and after images of one of the larger cleanups on the southwest end of the riverbed last week.

"We will continue to move northbound until we've gone to the northern city limits and then we come back here on the south end and we start over again and it's just kind of a continual loop," Commander Lampe explained.

He says the cost for December 17th and 18th's efforts is $8,400 from the City's General Fund taxpayer dollars.

Meanwhile, even more trash is being cleared in the southeast end of the riverbed as efforts ramp up before the thick of Winter.

"We're just trying to get as much trash out of the river as we can before the rains come and then when the water subsides then we'll be doing it again to try to get the trash before it's fire season," Commander Lampe said.

72-hour notices are posted but police say notifications to campers go out days before that.

The PD's CAT team says roughly 100 people live in the riverbed with at least a couple dozen moving elsewhere as a result of the most recent cleanup.

This comes as the former Motel 6 on Black Oak Drive is welcoming those without a roof over their head.

"When the riverbed has a cleanout we tend to see an uptick at our meal program run through Paso Cares and ECHO," said Wendy Lewis, ECHO Homeless Organization CEO. "We've seen a slight increase and we have available opportunity here."

The new site is working to eventually house 60 people in need as many are seeking help this holiday season.

"We've been open about three weeks at ECHO Paso Robles and we've been able to serve so many people so quickly. Our biggest night was 32 people including 17 children," Lewis said.

ECHO Paso Robles is looking for volunteers. If you'd like to help, click here.