It was the end of a long struggle for homeless RVers at a Santa Rosa, CA, Business Park when police started towing vehicles this week, displacing RV dwellers who for months have lived there in what became a homeless encampment of motorhomes, travel trailers and pop-up campers, reports the Press Democrat.
The removal operation, which could take weeks to tow as many as 40 trailers, vans, trucks and cars, represents the latest chapter in Sonoma County’s ongoing homeless saga.
On Wednesday morning, two recreation vehicles — a 30-foot travel trailer and a 30-foot motorhome — were hauled away with a large tow truck. Officials said it’s part of a vehicle abatement effort police started at the Northpoint Corporate Center in late August.
The homeless encampment began in January with about a half-dozen RVs and other vehicles parking along Apollo, Mercury and Challenger ways. By late spring or early summer, the number of homeless there had swelled, particularly after the spring evictions of the Roseland Village encampment and the subsequent breakup of tent villages that had popped up along the Joe Rodota Trail.
At one point, there were as many as 100 vehicles in various states of disrepair. Some of the trailers and campers were donated to the homeless residents. A number of vehicles already have left the Northpoint business park area. Police are hoping more homeless will leave voluntarily.
“We’re focusing on the most egregious registration and septic violations,” Sean Wall, Santa Rosa Police vehicle abatement officer, said. “I’m trying to provide people with as much time as possible to fix the violations.”
Wall said during the first week of September nearly 30 vehicles were red-tagged for removal. He said state law gives law enforcement the discretion to tow vehicles parked on the street for more than 72 hours.
Vehicles abandoned on the street, inoperable, or those with registration expired for more than six months can be towed, too, under state law.