By Donna Westfall
6:30 pm, Wednesday night, May 6th. The subject was BLIGHT. In 2010 United States Census reported that Smith River had a population of 866.
Less than 20 people attended the neighborhood watch meeting held at the Community Hall on First Street. Of those attendees, at least three were from Crescent City and one was from the Bertsch tract in Del Norte County.
The remainder were mostly people who have already been involved in helping out their community in a myriad of ways. The most pressing subject of blight was the pink motel that’s falling apart.
Joni Forsht organized the meeting by bringing in Supervisor’s from the 1st and 3rd District, Roger Gitlin and Chris Howard. Also part of the panel on Blight was Code Enforcement Officer, Dave Mason; the one and only Code Enforcement Officer for 1,270 square miles.
BLIGHT – not just grafitti, or garbage, or an excess of weeds, but as Jaime Yarbrough described it – economic blight with more and more businesses closed and buildings sitting empty.
What was shared?
Gitlin is to be congratulated for organizing clean-up crews of volunteers throughout the years as part of his “Take A Bite Out of Blight Campaign.”
Up to 20 dumpsters a year are provided with fees waived by Del Norte Solid Waste. Some are used for the 4th of July festivities and Sea Cruise. Otherwise, the next clean-up site is on Front Street in Crescent City by the abandoned Fish Market. The last clean-up site was South Beach. They’ve done 13 blight clean-up programs so far.
Some key things came out of the meeting:
1. Abandoned vehicles. About $23,000 comes in from DMV to fund getting rid of abandoned vehicles. $3,000 can be spent in getting rid of motorhomes filled with trash abandoned on the roads. Dave Mason explained that with those costs, $23,000 doesn’t go very far.
2. The two supervisors stressed that the community has to get involved and not leave it to government to take charge. Some discussion was held on the transients and the homeless being a problem in creating blight.
3. They are working on a list to be available so that if you have a question about who to contact, it will be readily accessible with names and numbers.
You can reach Supervisor Roger Gitlin at:
Office (707) 464-0801
You can reach Supervisor Chris Howard at:
Office (707) 464-7204
You can reach Code Enforcer Dave Mason at: