John Casali's Eel River Cleanup will no longer be allowed to deposit garbage and litter along the shoulder of Redwood Drive, between Garberville and Redway. The practice apparently violates California litter laws, which may be enforced against ERC in the future. According to Lieutennant Adam Jager of the California Highway Patrol's Garberville area office, this move comes in response to concerns expressed by members of the community.
"We received some complaints about him piling up garbage on the side of the road and leaving it there for days on end," Jager told the Redwood Times. "We're okay with him having his workers bring it up to the road, and then he picks it up. That's fine."
Casali says that CHP personnel have warned him he could be subject to a $1,000 fine, but when we tried to confirm that with Jager he was told, "That's up to the courts."
Casali says that in light of recent developments, he has no plans to continue his work with the ERC. Placing large piles of garbage with tarps and signage in high-profile locations along the roadway was a fundraising tactic, and Casali feels its loss is an existential threat to his operation.
"I'm pretty much done now. They've taken away how I make the money to pay the homeless people. By putting the garbage there, people stop and give me money. They've taken that away," Casali said.
Casali has threatened to stop his cleanup efforts in the past. "You have to quit every so often because you burn out," he says, "but this time I'm just done."