Piles of trash on Caltrans property has property owner looking into adopting highway in Berkeley

BERKELEY, Calif. (KGO) -- Piles of trash on the frontage roads off Interstate 80 in Berkeley is causing a property owner near the mess to look into adopting the highway to clean up the street.

It takes one person to make a difference, and Bill De Carion wants to be the one.

RELATED: Trash is piling up in Berkeley but city can't clean it up

We asked Carion how he envision the area and what he wants to do with it?

"I just imagine it being landscaped. Nice trees, sloped up, and flowers. We are going to put large bushes so they can't sleep in them."

Carion owns the building across from where the pile of trash is located. His tenants are constantly complaining about safety and curb appeal.

"Accumulation of garbage everywhere. Needles from drugs, and we also have the issue with rats that all this garbage is creating," said Juan Vazquez owner of All Natural Stone, a tile company located across from the homeless encampment.

Carion submitted renderings of how the frontage roads off Interstate I-80 can look like. Adopting the highway will cost $50,000 to $100,000.

We asked him if he is willing to pay to adopt the highway.

"Oh yeah, It's cheaper for us to resolve this and make everyone happy than to ignore it," said, Carion who also added that he's willing to fundraise the money to make it a collaborative effort.

The City of Berkeley says this is a two-part issue; illegal dumping and the homeless. But, since the trash is on Caltrans side, they say they can't touch it.

"We take this issue very seriously, but for property that is not ours responsibility it's hard for us to act immediately. I think we've gotten to a point where the city just needs Caltrans permission to clean it up because we are not going to wait for them to clean it up," said Berkeley's Mayor Jesse Arreguín.

According to the city of Berkeley, Caltrans is supposed to clean the area every two weeks but can't always do it due to limited resources.

In a statement to ABC7 news, Caltrans said, "Caltrans is working with our local partners to find solutions to the complex issue of homelessness in the Bay Area."
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