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Los Angeles finally allowed to clean encampment trash from highway underpasses

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(The Center Square) – Los Angeles sanitation crews are finally able to easily remove trash and debris from homeless encampment cleanups around the state’s highways. Before the agreement, city staff would initiate complicated permission protocols with the state for each cleanup.

“As we work to get people out of tents and into housing, collaboration is key,” said California Governor Gavin Newsom in a statement. “This agreement between the City of Los Angeles and the state underscores our shared commitment to addressing encampments and ensuring clean and safe public spaces for all Californians.”

Under the new agreement between the City of Los Angeles and the State of California, the state will provide easy access and some reimbursement for cleanups on Caltrans-administered highway properties. The agreement, initiated by Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass, includes certain stipulations on cleanups, and bans the removal of “any graffiti that in any way resembles a mural, artwork, paintings, or other similar elements.”

“Caltrans is an essential partner in our local infrastructure and mobility, and I am pleased they will also be a collaborator in keeping freeway areas clean and clear as we all prioritize addressing homelessness and keeping our communities safe through this MOU,” said Los Angeles City Councilmember Bob Blumfield.

After a November fire shut down the I-10 for weeks, officials applied new scrutiny to homeless encampments under or near highways as potential safety hazards, leading some city councilmembers to invoke the city’s anti-camping ordinance in some underpasses in their districts.