Faulconer announces river cleanup milestone

SAN DIEGO  — Mayor Kevin Faulconer announced Tuesday that all city- owned property along the San Diego River has been cleaned at least once.

The city owns roughly one-third of riverfront property, and employees have removed nearly 99 tons of debris from 32 locations since last September, he said.

Faulconer said the cleanup will continue, particularly in regard to outreach and coordination with owners of the remaining two-thirds of land along the river.

“The San Diego River is one of our most precious natural resources and we must continue to give it the care and attention it deserves,” Faulconer said. “While we’ve cleared all of the city’s property once, we still have a lot more work to do, so we’re encouraging every property owner next to the river to join our cleanup efforts and help preserve the San Diego River for future generations.”

City employees have sent letters to 33 private property owners, including several businesses, that collectively own another third of riverfront property. Eight owners have allowed city employees to clean their property. Those who reject city services must clean their property or face fines ranging from $100 to $1,000, according to the mayor’s office.

The remaining third of riverfront property is owned by a nonprofit and various government agencies, including the Metropolitan Transit System, Caltrans, San Diego River Park Foundation, California Department of Fish & Wildlife, U.S. Postal Service and County of San Diego.

Rob Hutsel, president and CEO of the San Diego River Park Foundation, lauded city efforts to clean riverfront property.

“Since this effort began, we have seen a dramatic difference along the river in the city,” Hutsel said. “There is less trash, fewer encampments and a new hope that a lasting improvement is being achieved.”

Cleanup efforts are part of the “Clean SD” initiative, which launched May 2017. So far, crews have removed more than 1,000 tons of litter from illegal dumping hot spots in Ocean Beach, City Heights, San Ysidro, Logan Heights, Paradise Hills, Webster, Mission Beach, Point Loma and Pacific Beach.