Here’s where Yreka’s council decided to set up a temporary homeless camp
Yreka City Council has decided on a location for a temporary homeless camp: on a city-owned property off Oberlin Road, next to the Yreka Greenway.
The decision was made at a special meeting on Thursday evening June 17. Residents of the two current camps will be moved to three campsites at the new location over the next few weeks.
The camp is accessible by road, so the Yreka Police Department can patrol; Porta-pots will be available and garbage will be picked up daily.
Yreka Mayor Duane Kegg, who led a series of meetings to set up the temporary campsite, has been working on homeless issues in the area for several years. He said that while the temporary site is not perfect, it meets the needs they are looking for.
“Right now we’re trying to do a temporary fix and put a band-aid on it,” Kegg said.
Eventually, a permanent urban campsite will be established adjacent to the future Beacon of Hope homeless shelter, under construction at Foothill Drive, in the area of the Yreka Western Railroad Blue Goose tour train site, today. hui abandoned.
The council held its first special meeting on the issue of homelessness two weeks ago. They will continue to meet on the first and third Thursday of each month for the foreseeable future, so that there is an open forum to discuss the many issues involving the issues facing the homeless in Yreka.
The next meeting is scheduled for July 1 at 6.30 p.m.
On June 3, during the first extraordinary meeting, the council was unable to comment on the location of the temporary urban campsite.
Kegg said there are currently makeshift structures in a large homeless camp on Campus Drive that contain materials that could cause a fire. Once the camps are removed from Campus Drive, a fuel consumption reduction project is planned in the area.
Homeless people from a second camp at Greenhorn Dam within the city limits are also to be relocated, as Pacific Gas and Electric Company is due to build a fence in the area this summer. PG&E owns the property.
Kegg is worried because the threat of forest fires increases every day. The camps are “a time bomb waiting to explode,” he said.
Originally, two sites were considered for the temporary camp: Yreka City Yard on Highway 263, and a site near Deer Creek Road, which is located near Montague Road. It was decided that the Deer Creek site would not operate as it is inaccessible to YPD patrol vehicles and would be difficult to monitor. In addition, the Siskiyou Gardens Parks and Greenway Association has plant habitats that could be damaged by the presence of a camp in the area. It was also feared that it was close to retirement homes and housing.
The city court site was also excluded. The Planning Department said the city’s north well is close to the proposed site and is the only back-up water supply that could be used if water was never available from of Fall Creek. Since the well is not a traditional well and could be contaminated by a nearby urban campsite, the presence of the campsite could trigger the need for a new Source Water Assessment and Protection Report. drinkable.
While the site looked promising, Kegg said these issues are preventing it from being a feasible campsite.
It will likely take months for the permanent site to be ready in Foothill, Kegg said. An environmental review of the property indicated that some of the dirt will need to be removed before it can be used for this purpose. He hopes he will be ready in about three months.
Another difficulty facing the city is the need to ensure that displaced homeless people are not inconvenienced after a 2018 ruling by the 9th United States Court of Appeals in Martin v. City of Boise. He said cities cannot ban homeless people from camping in public places unless they have adequate shelter. This means that the city cannot force people to move their camps too far from services and resources.
“We’re at the end of the road with our options,” said Board member Corey Middleton. “We encountered roadblocks with almost all of them. ”
He agreed that the Oberlin Road site was the best option when the permanent site is not available at this time.
Mayor Kegg said the homelessness issue is a challenge.
“There are a lot of different levels to deal with and it’s not an easy solution,” he said. “There are no easy solutions. We just keep trying to fix what we can.”
Willow Martindale, a city code enforcement officer, said there were already campers in the Oberlin Road area who they chat with on a daily basis. She said that they made them sign a form which they would take after them and that they would not damage the property.
Martindale and YPD have patrolled the area to ensure campers are not participating in illegal activities. She added that she had good relations with the homeless population and that she knew several of them by name.