Crews with the city of San Jose and Union Pacific Railroad this week made quick progress on cleaning up a large homeless encampment and illegal dump site along Monterey Road on the southern edge of the city.
Crews continue to work on clearing the site.
The site along southbound Monterey Road between Metcalf Road and Bailey Avenue next to the railroad tracks has been blighted by illegal dumping, graffiti, construction debris and garbage making for hazardous conditions, according to the city.
Multiple fires have ignited at the encampment, including one earlier this year that burned through tents and vehicles where some unhoused residents were believed to have been living.
Councilman Sergio Jimenez has been dealing with the area for the better part of the past two years, saying numerous homeless encampments along the corridor are a health and safety hazard, with several fires reported as well as the accumulation of large amounts of hazardous waste.
About 18 months ago, Jimenez and other city officials directed the city attorney to explore legal action against Union Pacific for alleged property neglect.
"The conditions along UPRR railways throughout the City have deteriorated the quality of life in San Jose, and UPRR’s blatant disregard for the health and safety of our residents is unacceptable," Jimenez said in a May 30, 2019, statement. "We have tried to address these issues diplomatically, but UPRR has demonstrated time and again that they are not good neighbors and that their first priority is transportation and commerce, even at the expense of neighboring communities."
The cleanup effort will include outreach services for uhoused residents. The city said the cleanup could extend beyond the workweek.