Volunteers have been organized in the past month on social media by Sonora residents Trisha and Jason Revord to clean up abandoned trash, garbage, appliances, furniture, human waste, and other refuse at multiple locations in Tuolumne County.
On Saturday they helped clean up two locations, on Lime Kiln Road and behind the old Burger King on Mono Way.
“We’ve been noticing trash for a good year now,” Trisha Revord said Monday in a phone interview. “When we go boating, fishing, camping, and walking, we take trash bags with us now because so many people bring trash in and they don’t pack it out with them.”
The Revords and their group are called “1pileatatime”, and they are seeking more volunteers and donations. They need money to cover the cost of dump fees and to rent heavy equipment for larger projects, like one they plan to do in March behind the Lowe’s off Old Wards Ferry Road above Highway 108.
“These are our beautiful mountains ,and we want to keep them clean,” Trisha Revord said. “We want to take pride in our beautiful community, take pride in where we live.”
Trisha and Jason Revord have lived between downtown Sonora and Jamestown since mid-2019. Before that, they lived together in the Crystal Falls area since 2008. Trisha Revord, 44, moved to the Sonora area in 1980. Jason Revord, 45, was born and raised in Tuolumne County and used to live in the Crystal Falls area.
They didn’t notice abandoned trash and illegal dumping as much when they lived in Crystal Falls, Trish Revord said, “but maybe we had blinders on then.”
Then, “in like June 2019, we were up at Spring Gap. We were fishing and walking along the river banks. It’s the river that flows out of Pinecrest, the South Fork Stanislaus,” Trisha Revord said. “We were going upstream toward the dam at Pinecrest. We came across broken lawn chairs, people’s trash, lunch bags, bread bags, half-eaten food, broken ice chests. We noticed a lot of human waste as well.”
There was poop and no toilet paper, Trisha Revord said. It appeared people had been wiping themselves with socks and shirts.
“We piled it up the best we could, then we drove home and got trash bags,” Trisha Revord said. “We grabbed our kids and we took everyone back. It was about noon when we left Sonora. It took the seven of us maybe 10 minutes to get all that trash into trash bags. That pile was about four trash bags, and the kids went upstream and came back with two more trash bags. Then we walked a quarter-mile back to our vehicle and took it to the dump the following day.”
The Revords have seven children and two grandchildren. On that day, they took five of their children: daughter Malia Revord, 16; son Kaden Alford, 16; daughter Javin Revord, 21; son Tyler Alford, 23; and son Charlie Revord, 24.
“Everybody was disgusted, picking up other people’s trash,” Trisha Revord said. “What you come across, you feel dirty. The kids were saddened by people just leaving the trash up there.”
About a month ago, the Revords saw that someone had posted a video online of some trash left off Spanish Grant Drive, northeast of Soulsbyville Road, near Crystal Falls Mini Mart.
“It just infuriated us,” Trisha Revord said Monday. “Instead of just posting a video, why didn’t that person clean up the trash. I get they were frustrated, but to not do anything, this is what lit the fire for us to start this group.”
The Revords went up there the following day to the dump site off Spanish Grant Drive. They loaded their trailer with refuse from the abandoned dump. They gathered people’s household garbage bags that they just dumped, a workout treadmill, a full-size kitchen stove appliance with an oven, box springs and mattresses, broken recliner chairs and broken office chairs, and a dog igloo filled with trash.
“Once loaded, we took it straight to the dump,” Trisha Revord said. “The dump fees cost $120 out of our pocket.”
A couple days later the Revords started their “1pileatatime” group on Facebook. They’ve had 15 to 30 people show up to help clean up at five different locations so far. They post online where they’re going to be, and people from the group show up to help, Trisha Revord said.
The first location they did as the “1pileatatime” group was at Spanish Grant Drive. They went back to that location because there was more trash to clean up.
Their next location was at Dulce Lane and Red Heather Lane, near Spanish Grant Drive, where they took 60 cubic yards of trash out of there, Trisha Revord said.
They next went to Sanguinetti Court off Sanguinetti Road, across from Sonora Ford, where they cleaned up abandoned tents that were still set up with mold growing inside them, as well as trash and alcohol bottles.
Next, they focused on a place off Lime Kiln Road, where they handled full-size refrigerators; beds; full-size porcelain toilets; six tires; broken-down tents; baby cribs; Christmas decorations; an old tube TV with knobs on the outside; a lot of garbage in bags; and a couple of what appeared to be used syringes, Trisha Revord said.
They finished up Saturday behind the old Burger King on Mono Way, near The Junction shopping center, where they removed abandoned clothes; pizza crusts; pizza boxes; rotten, uncooked meat; three cartons of broken eggs and unbroken eggs; more loose trash; 11 tires; lots of booze bottles; and a lot of bags of garbage, too.
The Revords estimate they have removed about 80 cubic yards of illegally dumped trash, garbage, ties, and appliances from five locations and have spent about $1,200 on dump fees up to this point. They have collected donations totaling about $690, Trisha Revord said.
“We definitely appreciate the donations to cover our dump fees,” Trisha Revord said. “And we hope people will send more.”
The Revords and their group have at least two more projects planned. The next is scheduled on Big Hill toward the Cedar Ridge side on Feb. 20. They are seeking volunteers and dump fees for that project.
In addition, “We’re going to be doing a major cleanup March 27-28 behind Lowe’s,” Trisha Revord said. “Close to 300 yards of trash. It will cost anywhere from $15,000 to $20,000 to remove. We’re going to need heavy equipment. There’s a major homeless camp up there.”
Trisha Revord and her husband walked up there recently with County Supervisor Jaron Brandon, who was recently elected to the seat for District 5 that encompasses Jamestown, Railtown 1897 State Park, Columbia, Columbia Airport, Columba College, and Tuolumne County shores of the New Melones and Tulloch reservoirs.
“There are three or four different property parcels up there,” Trisha Revord said. “We have to notify the owners. The homeless have not moved out. They are still there. Our goal is to get the people up there to help with the clean up, so it’s sanitary and safe for them as well. There is a creek back there, and there is garbage and debris going into that creek. That’s our waterways and our wildlife.”
The group “1pileatatime” had more than 300 members by Monday afternoon. Search for them on Facebook. To make donations to help dump fees and rent heavy equipment, checks can be mailed to:
Trisha Revord or Jason Revord
Pac N Copy
13767 Mono Way A
Sonora CA 95370
The Revords will provide receipts for donations, though they have not yet registered to become an official 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
Contact Guy McCarthy at email@example.com or 770-0405. Follow him on Twitter at @GuyMcCarthy.