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City-state partnership could clean freeway underpasses


A common location for homeless persons

Mayor Karen Bass is touting a new partnership between Los Angeles and California that officials say will help keep areas where homeless people live near freeways cleaner and safer. The deal has to be approved by the city council.

Initiated by the Mayor’s Office, the agreement between the Los Angeles Department of Sanitation and the California Department of Transportation will allow city crews to access Caltrans properties to remove trash and debris. Bass’ office called it ``an important strategy to help make sure public spaces are clean and safe following successful operations that bring unhoused people inside.”

The state will reimburse Los Angeles for costs associated with the partnership in the Caltrans District 7 Metro Region.

“When we were in Sacramento last week, we raised the need to cut through red tape and come together to help keep public spaces near freeways clean and safe as we continue our work to bring unhoused Angelenos inside,” Bass said in a statement. “Governor Newsom and Secretary Omishakin shared our commitment and just days later, we are moving this agreement forward. That’s why we make these trips.”

For his part, Newsom added: “As we work to get people out of tents and into housing, collaboration is key. 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.”

The agreement must still be approved by the Board of Public Works and the Los Angeles City Council. Councilman John Lee, who chairs the council’s Public Works Committee, said the agreement creates an opportunity for the city to work more “efficiently and collaboratively” with the state.

“Addressing matters of public safety should not be limited by jurisdictional boundaries and so this collaboration will crucially help our city’s efforts to keep public spaces clean,” Lee said in a statement.

Bass led a delegation of city council members to the state capitol earlier this month to lobby for resources that would benefit the city’s efforts on homelessness and housing, public safety, and upcoming world events such as the 2028 Olympics. As well, Bass and a delegation of city and Olympic officials traveled to Paris last week to foster business development and learn from French officials as that city prepares to host the Summer Olympics this year. Los Angeles will host the 2028 games.