20 Years Camping on the Parkway with County Approval

So reports the Sacramento Bee, paragraph in bold.

An excerpt.

“Sacramento County officials plan to clear a longstanding encampment of homeless seniors Thursday — this time for good.

“The secluded riverfront camp near Discovery Park, known as Bannon Island, is home to roughly 30 seniors. Some of them have been living there for more than 20 years.

“County officials have largely allowed the camp to stay put, even providing water drop-offs at one point. But last month’s major rain and windstorm caused severe flooding there, county spokeswoman Janna Haynes said. The park rangers posted notices to the camp Tuesday ordering them to leave by Thursday afternoon.

“Sacramento is expected to experience rain and a windstorm Thursday and Friday, but even after the storm passes, people will not be able to return to the island, Haynes said. That’s a change from the county’s handling of the January storm.

“Bannon Island has been closed to all (Discovery) Park users since January, not just campers,” Haynes said in an email. “It is currently far too dangerous to have people there. We currently have temporary signs posted stating that the area is closed to the public and more permanent signs will be put in place soon. This will be a long-term closure.”

“Crews are still clearing debris, trash and downed trees from the January storm, which block access for first responders, making it unsafe to live there, Haynes said.

“Twana James, the island’s unofficial mayor, said she is suffering from pneumonia and does not know where she will go.

“I hate it,” James, 54, said Wednesday. “I can’t move. I don’t know what to do. I’m real sick. I can’t breathe, can’t do anything.”

“The camp is mostly secluded from the public, but clearing it will be physically taxing. In the summer of 2021, The Sacramento Bee journalists were the first members of the media to visit the site and report on the residents. Journalists observed about 60 tents, some of which had multiple rooms with furniture and carpeting. Cables were draped between the surrounding trees, holding dog leashes and colorful beach towels.

“Following the planned clearing, county staff will store all personal property that is not perishable and/or unsanitary for 90 days, said Ken Casparis, a county spokesman, in an email.

“Park rangers have offered shelter to the people living on the island in the past, Haynes said. It’s unclear if county officials will offer to transport anyone to a shelter or motel Thursday.

“As many shelters are temporary with limits on number of pets and amount of possessions. What the residents really want is permanent housing, several have told The Bee.”

Sacramento County, CA, to clear Bannon Island homeless camp | The Sacramento Bee (sacbee.com)

And this article from KCRA 3 validates the point, Bannon Island homeless encampment asked to clear out (kcra.com)

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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