OAKLAND (KPIX 5) — More than 100 large logs, mostly oaks, appeared nearly a year ago on Poplar Street in West Oakland and slowly replaced the crowd of homeless RVs. Neighbors say the logs are not a problem.
The logs lining the street certainly don’t solve any of the long term homeless problems in the city. It’s estimated that each log weighs about a ton and requires a small crane to move.
“I think it’s a good thing, keeping the streets clear,” said Pepper, who lives in his van in Oakland. Pepper lost his home two years ago in the Camp Fire in Paradise. Now he lives in his van, which he parks in a lot at night.
“A lot are into the drugs and stealing activities are kept away by not and all the trash, there’s no, there’s no bathrooms to use, so, um…it keeps people away,” Pepper said.
It’s not clear who placed the logs on the street and it’s uncertain how much longer they will remain.
KPIX asked the Oakland Public Works Department to speak about the logs on city streets, but they wouldn’t go on camera, simply saying they respond to complaints and so far, no one in the neighborhood is complaining.
John Blum owns a nearby business. “This is not an illegal blockage of the street, so much as it is a response of the failure of the city to provide basic services,” Blum said.
Keyvan Eliasieh, an attorney for Homeless Action Center, said the logs were a “hostile” design. “That’s the oldest form that you can think of, where someone has left that there to prevent someone else from being there,” Eliasieh said.
Blum says while people in the neighborhood are sympathetic, something had to be done. “So, it’s just a natural response to the city’s failure to enforce it’s own laws.”
The councilwoman for the district didn’t return KPIX’s calls for comment.