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CHICO, Calif. - The designated clean-up crew in Chico was hard at work Thursday picking up all the trash that was left behind from previous homeless encampments along Little Chico Creek.
The designated clean-up crew was approved by the Chico City Council. It consists of one senior maintenance worker and two maintenance workers.
Public Works Director Erik Gustafson said cleaning up parks and greenways hasn’t cost the city a lot of money.
The City of Chico has seen a significant rise in trash from large homeless encampments since the beginning of the pandemic when the city passed an ordinance that allowed the homeless to temporarily camp in city parks and greenways, Gustafson said.
"The environmental degradation is just unbelievable and what has taken place throughout our community,” Gustafson said. “So, we don't like to see that, and we try to do everything we can to combat it and mitigate it."
Having this designated crew has really allowed public works to still be able to focus on other projects the city is working on whereas before, public works would have to put everything on hold to go out and clear out homeless encampments, Gustafson said.
The designated clean-up crew removes an average of 21 tons of trash from greenways and parks each month.
The clean-up crew works five days a week for eight hours each day removing debris and waste from city parks.