Struggling with Illegal Camping, Part One

This article from Voice of OC shows how difficult it is.

An excerpt.

U.S. District Court Judge David O. Carter Tuesday lifted a temporary restraining order against the County of Orange, allowing it to begin evicting as many as 400 homeless people who still live along the Santa Ana Riverbed.

Carter convened an 8 a.m. court hearing at a fold-up table in the parking lot of the Honda Center, where he told attorneys that people living along the riverbed have had plenty of time to prepare to leave.

“I’ll be out of your way, but I’ll be here,” Carter said to county attorneys during the informal hearing. “This is not going to be perfect. You’re going to have extraordinary complaints along the way.”

The end of the restraining order will allow the county to arrest and cite homeless people who refuse to leave, although county counsel Leon Page said “our goal is zero arrests today.”

The lifting of the temporary restraining order raised immediate concerns from attorney Brooke Weitzman, who is representing seven homeless people who live along the riverbed. Weitzman said homeless people should have the right to leave the riverbed – to eat, use the bathroom, go to work and take care of other needs – without facing the threat of arrest for returning.

“You conduct yourself the way you feel is appropriate,” Carter told county attorneys. “You decide to arrest people on the way, but that’s your decision.”

County officials and Sheriff’s deputies flooded the northeast end of the riverbed, between Taft Avenue/Ball Road and Memory Lane, Tuesday morning and began notifying people of the judge’s order. Their plan is to clear the riverbed section by section.

Sheriff’s deputies began by asking people living along the riverbed for their names and pointing them to county service workers.

By 10 a.m., roughly 100 people were lined up to receive county services. But both county officials and riverbed residents said some homeless people who either left the riverbed when told to by sheriff’s deputies earlier this month or never lived on the riverbed also are seeking the motel rooms.

One man told a reporter he was homeless in Santa Ana but rode his bike to the riverbed Tuesday, hope to gain shelter in a motel room.

Sheriff’s deputies originally began the eviction Jan. 22 when they walked tent-to-tent and told people they have to start packing up and getting ready to leave under “voluntary compliance.”

One week after the evictions started, a lawsuit was filed Jan. 29 by attorneys Weitzman and Carol Sobel on behalf of the local nonprofit Catholic Worker and seven homeless individuals.

Retrieved February 21, 2018 from

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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