OAKLAND (CBS SF) — A controversy has erupted over piles of debris left behind by the removal of a large homeless encampment near railroad tracks in Oakland.
Bulldozers descended upon the encampment last week, knocking down 30 tents and makeshift shacks. But the cleanup was not completed. Piles of garbage, cooking utensils, clothing and other items remain at the site located at San Leandro Blvd. and 81st Ave. in Oakland.
“Right here, yeah, I got my room, my kitchen, my living room right here,” said encampment resident Abundio “Pepe” Colmenero as he pointed to what was left of his makeshift shack.
Union Pacific said it cleaned out the encampment over safety concerns because the structures were located close to busy railroad tracks.
“We wanted to do a cleanup effort for safety reasons, last thing we want is something or someone get hit by a train,” Union Pacific Spokesman Justin Jacobs told KPIX 5.
But so far, no one has promised to clean it up, not Union Pacific, not the city, not the county. The trash stretches a block long.
“If it’s about safety, how can you leave all the trash here,” homeless advocate Ken Houston told KPIX 5.
While authorities sort out who is responsible for the final cleanup, the homeless for now have moved to a new camp a block away next to a creek and right below the tracks.
“This is not good, because a lot of mosquitoes,” Colmenero told KPIX 5.