This morning, the City of Oakland resumed clean-up operations on City-owned property on Wood Street between West Grand and 26th Street. This operation is a continuation of work that began the week of July 11 to remove structures and tons of debris from the City-owned right-of-way along Wood Street. More details and a map of the area can be found here.
The City’s operation this week is unrelated to Caltrans’ efforts to close encampments located on their property on Wood Street, which was paused by a court order issued on July 19, 2022. The City of Oakland does not have jurisdictional authority to clear or manage encampments on land owned by other agencies, including Caltrans.
Outreach & Services on City-owned Property
To address the needs of the unsheltered people living on the City-owned right-of-way on Wood Street, the City has been conducting outreach for about a year, which intensified over the weeks leading up to the encampment operation in July and continued over the past month. Outreach teams have engaged about a dozen individuals who have been living on site; to date, six accepted alternative shelter and another four accepted space at the Safe RV site, leaving approximately 3 unsheltered people who have so far declined offers of alternative shelter. The City will continue to offer services and shelter alternatives to everyone who has been residing on this site, including Community Cabins, The Holland, the Safe RV site, and Family Front Door.
The City plans to set up a 50-unit emergency shelter program on the second half of the GameChanger lot at Wood and 26th streets, funded by a $4.7 million grant from the State of California. Subject to full funding, the City will add an additional 50 units, for a total of 100 shelters.
Temporary Restraining Order on Caltrans Property: GRANTED
On July 19, 2022, homeless individuals at the Caltrans Wood Street encampment filed for a temporary restraining order (TRO) in U.S. District Court against Caltrans, Alameda County, and the City of Oakland “to prevent a planned closure of the encampment and removal of the plaintiffs and their possessions;" the TRO was granted until a hearing could be held.
After the hearing on July 22, 2022, the Court modified the TRO and clarified that the TRO applies only to Caltrans land and “does not extend to Oakland’s property.” It states that, “As used in this TRO, ‘Wood Street encampment’ refers only to the area possessed by Caltrans, not the City of Oakland or other entities.”
Temporary Restraining Order on City of Oakland Property: DENIED
On August 11, 2022, the same group of Plaintiffs, none of whom live on City-owned property, asked the Court to expand the modified TRO to apply to City property and stop the City’s efforts to resume its clean-up operation that began last month. The Court denied the request on August 12, allowing the City’s operation to resume as planned today through Thursday, August 18, 2022. The Court found that Oakland “provided a longer notice of the clear-out action” than Caltrans and “’makes offers of shelter to all individuals when it clears an encampment.’”