OAKLAND (KPIX 5) – There’s an encampment in West Oakland that’s grown so large, it’s spilling onto the street.
The tents are now partially blocking traffic in West Oakland, underneath the I-980 overpass between Northgate Avenue and Martin Luther King Jr. Way.
And police aren’t doing anything about the blocked traffic.
Tent encampments have grown so big that they are spilling out onto 27th Street. Cars whiz by and police are nowhere to be seen.
Even the tent dwellers say it’s getting out of hand.
Oakland resident Roger Haris said, “I walked around here the other day and a car just missed me. It’s crazy and it doesn’t seem like the city is doing anything.”
Still, the homeless keep coming to underpasses throughout West Oakland.
Brad lives in an encampment and says in it he feels “as safe as anyone can on the streets.”
The city routinely sends out cleanup crews.
Joe DeVries is assistant to City Administrator and told KPIX 5, “We can try to not have homeless encampments close to people’s homes or on major pedestrian routes where they are blocking the sidewalk entirely.”
But DeVries acknowledged that on 27th Street, the encampment is spilling into the street.
“Yeah, yeah we need to deal with that,” he said.
Meanwhile, some people have taken it upon themselves to help the tent dwellers.
Tony is a musician who uses his own money and car to deliver hot food to the camps every week.
Tony said, “We just cook up some hot soup here and make sandwiches. Our friends help us make sandwiches and muffins, stuff like that.”
Across town near San Pablo Avenue, the city has taken one encampment and set up barricades and toilets, turning it into an instant homeless shelter.
Since October 30, 2016, some 30 campers here have gotten into housing, people like Deanne Smith.
“I’m getting a place on the 26th, two weeks,” Smith said.
But no sooner does one person move out than someone else moves in, something that wasn’t in the plan.
Alex Marqusee, aide to Councilmember Lynette Gibson McElhaney said, “We’ve got about 1,500 to 2,000 people sleeping on the streets of Oakland on any one night, so there is a draw.”
Marqusse said there is a need for more services.
It’s unclear whether more services are on the way.
The city doesn’t appear to be trying to eradicate the encampments, instead it appears the city is trying to cope with it.