A smiling group of well-dressed people stand next to a person in a traffic cone costume.

Allie Hostler, Two Rivers Tribune

Caltrans co-hosted a Clean California Community Celebration with the Hoopa Valley Tribe as part of Community Days – Spring Into Action! Caltrans Director Tony Tavares and Hoopa Valley Tribe Chairman Joe Davis signed a proclamation celebrating the partnership at the ceremony held last Saturday at Pookey’s Park.

Chairman Davis declared the third calendar week of March as Hoopa Valley Tribe and Caltrans Partnership Week.

“We look forward to furthering our partnership with Caltrans for many years to come. We think that some really special things can happen,” Davis said.

The Clean California partnership was on full display Saturday in the small town of Hoopa. There was a Large Item Dump Day event, a ceremonial groundbreaking for the State Beautification project, and a celebratory community event that also highlighted the work to come on the Hoopa Four Project.

“We’re so fortunate to have such wonderful partners here with the Hoopa Valley Tribe and community who have embraced the vision of a Clean California to transform their public spaces,” Tavares said. “Being able to build these partnerships, as we are doing with the Hoopa Tribe, takes Caltrans from being just a transportation agency to really being a community partner.”

Tribal Councilmember Isaac Bussell opened the ceremony with a prayer and was followed by Caltrans District 1 Director Matt Brady who introduced Director Tavares. Chairman Davis then spoke about the importance of the partnership to the tribe and community.

“I want to thank our partners with Caltrans. We rely on our state highway to bring in our food, access our hospital, so many things that are very important to us. We have to travel over the hill in the snow. It’s stressful, but you see those big, orange trucks coming with the plows and it’s all right. Many of them are our own Hoopa Tribal members. You have provided employment for our people, as well,” Davis said.

Hoopa-area residents dropped off 1,012 tires and 86 mattresses at the Dump Day event. More than 140 vehicles passed through the line to recycle 410 cubic yards of unwanted items. The Hoopa Valley Public Utilities District along with Hoopa Americorps and Caltrans filled the trailers with the items in three hours.

Before leaving Pookey’s Park for a tour of project sites, Caltrans and Tribal leadership took a moment for a ceremonial groundbreaking of the Hoopa Downtown State Beautification project. Construction on the State Beautification project is set to begin soon, weather permitting.

“These improvements will enhance the downtown area and improve the view along State Route 96 by adding decorative safety features and artwork that reflect the community’s rich history and culture,” Tavares said.

Later this year, the tribe will break ground on the Hoopa Four Project. The tribe was awarded a $5 million grant through Clean California to clean, enhance, and beautify four important spaces in the community.

Work at Pookey’s Park, the Jack Jarnaghan Rodeo Grounds, the Neighborhood Facilities, and Tish Tang Campground will provide safe, fun community recreation as well as improving accessibility, discouraging litter and vandalism, and contributing to community pride. The locations were chosen by the Hoopa community, according to the project fact sheet.

Hoopa Valley Tribe Councilmember Jill Sherman-Warne said, “It has been my honor to be the grant writer for this $5 million Hoopa Four Project that will beautify and increase usability for all ages of this community. A long held community vision for safe walking paths, new recreation opportunities for youth, and economic development promotion are achieved with this Clean California Grant. I’m grateful to be involved in this project from the beginning and cannot wait to see it to the end. This is the first of many achievements to come.”

Learn more about the Hoopa Downtown State Beautification project and the Hoopa Four project at dot.ca.gov/D1CleanCA.

About the Campaign:

Clean California Community Days are made possible through Governor Gavin Newsom’s Clean California initiative, a sweeping $1.2 billion, multiyear clean-up effort led by Caltrans to remove trash, create thousands of jobs, and engage communities to transform public spaces. Since 2021, the program has removed 1.4 million cubic yards of trash, created 3,500 jobs, and awarded $300 million in local grants. Visit CleanCA.com to learn more about how Clean California is transforming communities and educating the public.

Californians can get involved with the Clean California initiative in multiple ways. To get involved with events, visit CleanCA.com and explore either hosting or participating in community events. Last month, Gov. Newsom announced a new funding round for $100 million in grants for local Clean California projects. There are also a variety of career and job opportunities through Clean California. For more information on this, please visit the jobs section of the website.

Caltrans is also in the process of developing the Clean California Community program, in which communities from across the state can seek to earn a designation by meeting criteria centered around preventing and cleaning up litter, promoting recycling, and otherwise greening or beautifying their communities. Incentives will also be offered to encourage communities to earn this designation.