Illegal Campers Move Near Camp Pollack

Bob Slobe reports on Saturday February 26th that a large (50-60) group of tents has been set up near Camp Pollack, and he saw a large continent of cars pulled into the space underneath the 12th street freeway overpass handing out food to campers.

With the clear position taken by the County Supervisor for that area, Phil Serna, in an article in the Sacramento Bee Wednesday February 23rd, we would expect further efforts to remove this new encampment and help those who wish to be helped, will begin shortly.

An excerpt from the article by Supervisor Serna.

“Over the past several days, sheriff’s work crews have been out collecting trash and dealing with improvised latrines in an effort to restore that stretch of the parkway to as clean an environment as possible. Thankfully, American River Parkway Foundation volunteers have also agreed to do a cleanup along the lower stretch early next month.

“Finally, there are the occupants of the illegal camps. They are living in extremely substandard, unhealthy conditions, subject to the wet and cold of winter. I saw this firsthand when I went to visit parkway campsites during the recent biennial homeless count. Many of those I spoke with agreed that camping along the banks of the Sacramento River is miserable. In one camp I spoke with a shivering 24-year-old woman, five months pregnant with what will be her fourth child. That experience and lasting image more than any other compelled me to pick up the phone and begin fundraising.

“In the days before illegal campers were given notice to vacate the parkway because of the impacts they cause, every effort was made to provide shelter alternatives. This was the compassionate thing to do, and the effort involved more than just one elected official. Sacramento’s business and development community contributed more than $40,000 to extend the Winter Sanctuary program through March, and additional space was made available through a generous contribution by the Salvation Army. These groups deserve our thanks, and I’m happy to report that there are a number of people – not just one person – who accepted the offer of help.

“Unfortunately, there are others who refused in order to capitalize on media attention to advance an agenda. As an elected public servant I am obligated to think and act more comprehensively than to react to one group’s repeated demands for attention. I am obligated to serve the entire community – parkway users, the environment, and, yes, the less fortunate.”

About David H Lukenbill

I am a native of Sacramento, as are my wife and daughter. I am a consultant to nonprofit organizations, and have a Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Behavior and a Master of Public Administration degree, both from the University of San Francisco. We live along the American River with two cats and all the wild critters we can feed. I am the founding president of the American River Parkway Preservation Society and currently serve as the CFO and Senior Policy Director. I also volunteer as the President of The Lampstand Foundation, a nonprofit organization I founded in 2003.
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