OAKLAND (KPIX 5) – With clean-up crews back on the job following a week-long strike by city workers, Oakland on Wednesday was cleaning out one of the city’s biggest homeless encampments.
The first major project for Public Works employees since coming back to their jobs on Tuesday was cleaning up a large encampment on 6th and Brush.
The goal is to get the homeless people living in the encampment off the streets and staying at a new nearby temporary shelter.
Wednesday morning, the dump trucks rolled in and workers shoveled in piles of trash now headed to landfills.
Was what once made up part of the homeless encampment spilling onto public streets.
“We’ve been outreaching with this community for the past six week to let them know this was coming, so it was imminent,” said Assistant to the Oakland City Administrator Joe DeVries.
The city of Oakland put up pink notices in the neighborhood informing campers to pack up and leave. But the clean-up stalled last week when workers went on strike.
Now that city employees are back on the job, everything left behind on 6th Street between Brush and Castro is considered waste.
Those living in the encampments can move into the new temporary shelter with using 20 Tuff Sheds that the city set up in a vacant lot.
The sheds are equipped with cots and bathrooms.
“Our commitment has been as we move people in we would create a no camping zone along the site and that is in progress today,” said DeVries.
For those that don’t want to go, they could be forced to move along.
“I have not seen any one arrested. Sometimes we ask people to move out of the way so Public Works can do their job,” said DeVries. “We have had to have police escort people across the street because they refused to move. I’ve seen that happen twice in the last year.”
City workers said after cleaning up the Tuff Shed community perimeter, they will work on removing encampments in the surrounding blocks.