Volunteers clean up crews have picked up and bagged two dump truck loads of trash collected behind the Mount Shasta shopping center on Lake Street, and soon Cal Fire Deadwood crew will clear brush and trim trees around the perimeter. The goal of the project, which is being spearheaded by MSPD officer Frank Goulart, is fire prevention and crime reduction.

Clean-up efforts on the land behind Mount Shasta shopping center on Lake Street are aimed at eliminating future problems in the area, with fire prevention and crime reduction as primary goals.

“It started with the idea that we’ve just got to do this. We’ve got to get this cleaned up,” Mount Shasta Police Department officer Frank Goulart said of his decision to spearhead the project.

He said the area has long been a problem for the MSPD and for the residents of nearby homes.

“It gets pretty nasty back there,” Goulart said. “We had two fires last year and have issued citations for illegal camping, drug activity, trespassing, and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.”

He said the activities have been a source of irritation and complaint for the residents of homes just past the railroad tracks running behind the shopping center.

Those residents have had real fear as well, Goulart added, as suspicious persons have crossed the tracks and been seen on and around their properties.

Because the weather hasn’t been very cold this winter, some of the transients who’d normally move on have hung around, Goulart explained. So, he said he started recruiting some of them to help clean up the area.

“These folks are not the ones making problems. Most of them play by the rules and have places to stay or camp at night,” Goulart reported.

To date, the volunteer clean-up crews have picked up and bagged two full dump truck loads of trash.

CAL FIRE will inspect the area after all the trash and debris has been hauled away, according to Goulart. Once that’s done, the agency will bring in its Deadwood crew to clear brush, trim trees, and chip.

Goulart said that in itself will go a long way to preventing loitering and potential illegal activity, as it will reduce the cover provided by brush and tree branches.

He said Mount Shasta Fire Department Chief Matt Melo was “instrumental in getting CAL FIRE on board.”

Liz Roads, the shopping center property manager for C&K’s management company Menlo Management, has committed funding sufficient to cover the cost of the Deadwood Crew work on the store’s property.

Goulart said the Best Western Tree House will contribute funding for Deadwood work on the part of the project done on their land.

Mount Shasta City donated public works personnel hours, loaders, and dump fees toward the project, and Caltrans donated trash bags, pick up sticks, vests and safety glasses for the volunteers, according to Goulart.

Solano’s Alpine Hardware donated work gloves, and St. Vincent de Paul pays for a buffet pizza lunch for volunteers who work at least four hours on the project.

Goulart believes the volunteers themselves are benefitting from their clean up work.

“They get a sense of accomplishment and their attitudes improve. I think they have a sense of belonging to a community. They’re helping out,” he said.

He appreciates their willingness to step up and help.

“I think if you treat everyone fairly, when you need something they’ll come and help you,” Goulart said.