Click photo to enlarge
The Clean Team found piles of dirty clothes, trash and at least 150 syringes at an illegal campsite near Encinal and Dubois streets in Santa Cruz on Sunday. (TJ Magallanes/Contributed)

SANTA CRUZ -- Two trash cleanups in Pogonip during the weekend netted nearly two truckloads of trash and more than 150 used needles near an illegal campsite.

Santa Cruz city park rangers and more than 50 volunteers participated in the first cleanup Saturday. They collected nearly a dump truck full of garbage from wooded areas around Pogonip.

Sunday, more than 10 members of The Clean Team followed up with another cleanup closer to Encinal and Dubois streets. The team formed a few months ago in response to trash and strewn syringe problems on the Westside.

On Sunday, they discovered a camp with piles of dirty clothing, trash and about 150 needles scattered on its outskirts, said TJ Magallanes, who participated in the second cleanup.

The group collected about a truck full of trash from near the camp but stopped short of taking private property in the camp because it appeared to be in use, Magallanes said. Participants called police to remove the syringes -- as police have asked them to do.

"The amount of garbage up there, it's something that the city needs to take care of," said Magallanes.

Sunday, he contacted Santa Cruz City Councilman Don Lane, who said he expected city parks staff to remove the remaining trash or organize another volunteer cleanup.

"It's an ongoing battle," Lane said. "It falls on everyone but it especially falls on the parks department crews that go out and clean these things up. They depend on calls from the community."

Lane advised residents to report illegal campsites to a Santa Cruz police campsite hotline at 831-420-5892.

In the past three months, the Clean Team has collected more than 750 syringes, Magallanes said. The City Council on Tuesday will review a list of recommendations from its Public Safety Committee, including more oversight of a needle exchange group.

Lane and Magallanes said there was growing concern about garbage and drug waste on public land in Santa Cruz. Lane remembered a similar push in the mid-2000s, which he said spurred the hiring of more parks workers and police.

Magallanes said his group wants to use map trash sites online so volunteers can find them more easily.

The Clean Team posts times and locations of cleanups at https://www.facebook.com/groups/564421826916911/?fref=ts.

"A big 'thank you' to the whole community for coming together," he said. "It's a crisis that we're facing."

See Video from cleanup

Follow Sentinel reporter Stephen Baxter on Twitter at Twitter.com/sbaxter_sc