Clean California Project Adds Gateway Monument Signs and Regional Art in Manila and Surrounding Communities


Clean California round logo. A blue sky above white clouds over green hills. Clean California.

MANILA, Calif. — Caltrans recently celebrated the installation of two new gateway monument signs along Route 255 in Manila, marking a milestone in the city’s efforts to enhance community pride and preserve the area’s natural beauty and ecological diversity.

The nearly $1 million project was made possible by 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 join with communities throughout the state to reclaim, transform and beautify public spaces.

The final concepts for the new signs came through a collaborative process that included votes from more than 600 people. Caltrans District 1 Director Matthew Brady noted the Manila community has long sought this signage, and that it will serve multiple purposes.

“First, the signs are designed to warmly greet travelers as they enter the vibrant community of Manila, fostering a sense of place and identity,” Brady said. “They also aim to deter illegal dumping by reminding passersby of the local community’s great pride in preserving the area’s natural beauty.”

Furthering efforts to encourage visually appealing and clean public spaces, the project scope for Manila covers many other beautification efforts expected to be completed by the end of the year. This includes adding murals and landscaping enhancements, incorporating native plants and eradicating invasive species, installing a whimsical sea lion sculpture, and an extensive park cleanup. The Clean California project will also repair and repave the parking lot at the Manila Community Park.

The success of these endeavors can be attributed to collaboration among area residents, the Redwood Community Action Agency, the Humboldt Bay Harbor Recreation and Conservation District, the Manila Community Services District, and the Peninsula Community Collaborative.

For local footage of Clean CA beautification projects in action click here, and for local footage of Clean CA Dump Day events click here.

“These signs are a beautiful recognition of the community of Manila and will increase awareness of the people and animals that call it home,” said Humboldt County Supervisor Mike Wilson. “Roadways often create barriers in the neighborhoods they traverse, and I thank Caltrans for recognizing this and moving towards solutions that can reconnect our communities.”

"The signs are beautiful, but they're much more than that," added Humboldt County Supervisor Natalie Arroyo. “They help define a sense of place and ensure that passersby realize they are traveling through a cherished neighborhood. This can support a sense of respect and stewardship."

“The Manila Community Services District is very impressed with Caltrans’ beautification efforts on the peninsula, and we greatly appreciate their seemingly unimpeded momentum in this endeavor,” noted Manila Community Services District General Manager Christopher Drop.

Clean California has funded 319 projects statewide to revitalize and beautify underserved communities, some of which are already complete and now sources of community pride. Projects are improving public spaces, tribal lands, parks, neighborhoods, transit centers, walking paths, streets, roadsides, recreation fields, community gathering spots, and places of cultural importance or historical interest in underserved communities.

Since launching Clean California in July 2021, Caltrans and its local partners have picked up 2.3 million cubic yards of litter – enough to fill about 700 Olympic-size swimming pools. This represents a 760% increase compared to the department’s previous trash collection efforts and can largely be attributed to Clean California. Caltrans has hosted more than 500 free dump days in communities throughout the state – resulting in the collection of 12,000-plus mattresses and nearly 50,000 tires. The initiative has drawn more than 10,000 community clean-up volunteers and created 15,000 jobs, including positions for individuals who were formerly incarcerated, on probation, or experiencing housing insecurity.

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A small crowd of residents, Caltrans staff and local officials cut a ceremonial orange ribbon with large scissors in front of a gateway monument sign reading Manila with an osprey in midflight about to land on a stylized beach with a green hillside and sun rising in the background.

Manila Gateway monument ribbon cutting ceremony March 2024

A revitalized public restroom covered in colorful murals with redcap mushrooms, brown beetles, green grass.\

Revitalized public restroom at the Manila Community Center