Santa Rosa begins towing RVs from business park encampment

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.

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9 Thoughts to “Santa Rosa begins towing RVs from business park encampment”

  1. Steve

    We recently returned from living in Italy for seven years while working for the United States Government. Waiters in family owned restaurants ( there were no chains) made a living wage and were considered respected professionals in their chosen field. Gas station (large chains but privately owned independent stations) attendants were paid a living wage and were respected professionals in their chosen field. Employers were expected to care for their employees and in return, their employees made a profit for the employer. Maybe we should try this business model instead of whatever it is we have come to here. Wall Street Business is not designed to take care of people unless those people are investors. Homeless or underpaid people are not usually investors.

  2. Kevin in MN

    John, when Benny in Accounting doesn’t get his 3rd quarter depreciation forecast in on time no one cares, in fact it’s likely there’s no value in what Benny does. However when Luis doesn’t get his food on his ticket done correct tly and delivered in time people go ape-sh$t and write bad reviews that may lead to a closed restaurant. Which skill is more valuable?

  3. John Springer

    I live in a low-cost rural area in southern Oregon. According to Economic Policy Institute, the cost for a single person to live in this area is about $2600/month. (Excluding taxes and beer!) If you work 40 hours a week at $15/hr, you net around $2100/month after taxes. So working full time is not enough for a single person to live, even in a depressed rural area. Something is rotten in America.

  4. Kevin in MN

    After WW2 and Korean wars the “American Dream” prospered. “Made in the USA” was golden and companies distributed profits equitably, my father was a boiler service person who afforded a home and middle class living for a family of 8 children. Fast forward to now when the corporate holding companies and investors own a conglomeration of “energy companies” and earn profits THOUSANDS times more than the minimum wage (and often commission based) workers who actually perform the work. 40 years ago when you ate at a restaurant the money you paid was distributed among the staff with the highest amount going to the owners. My single-mom sister suported her family on waitress wages and tips and even had enough to own her own home. Now, the staff makes too little to afford even an entry level apartment and certainty no home. Well over 50% of profits go to wealthy corporate offices and investors.
    As more people of color and women achieve corporate leadership we’ll see less competent/productive white men passed over for jobs that will be given to harder working, smarter candidates hungry for success that haven’t grown-up priveledged without even knowing it. Maybe then people won’t believe that spending money on tatoos and other miniscule luxuries didn’t cause the problem, they’re just a symptom.

  5. Tommy Molnar

    I agree with Roy. It’s like the “veteran” sitting on a corner with a sign asking for help – while holding his cup of Starbucks coffee, smoking a cigarette, and texting (or whatever) on his cell phone.

  6. Gray

    When service workers (maids, groundskeepers, food servers, store clerks, etc) could no longer afford housing in Ketchum & Hailey, Idaho (Sun Valley $$$ retreat) arrangements were made to bus them in from a distance where cheaper housing could be found. In other areas of Idaho, such as Boise, the city police made regular “game flushing” sweeps down the riverside green belt park strips to roust out the tent-camping homeless. Thus (when we lived there) Idaho pretty much had a handle on homeless people: bus the necessary workers in, and “encourage” the camping homeless types to squat elsewhere, preferably Oregon or Washington. Now that they’re squatting in shacks on wheels, it should be easier to move them.
    After all, anybody who can’t afford $350,000 for a 3-bedroom house, or $2,000/month for rent in our cities where the part-time, minimum wage jobs are, deserves scorn and humiliation.

    1. Kevin Coughlin

      Why that’s a perfect solution…out of sight (state) and out of mind, Problem solved. Bussing folks from 100 miles away isn’t a solution either. Again it forces the problem onto other communities. Some solutions should include paying a living wage (enough to allow workers to live in the community they work in). Having communities (and maybe employers) provide limited housing (at a reasonable rate) or campgrounds (with limits and rules).

      1. John Rakoci

        How about getting an education or skills to earn a living? How much is a hamburger flipper worth?

  7. Roy

    Homelessness can’t be fun for anyone … but there are limits that cities and neighborhoods will and can tolerate. Working folk who cannot afford high apartment and home rents, should then be able to afford the necessities of life. In this case, RV licenses, sanitary maintenance and insurance. If they aren’t paying for these items – and not paying rent – and not paying gas for transportation … just what ARE they spending their money on?

    Pics we see (like the one above) have folks with dogs and large tattoos. They can afford the cost of these, but not the critical life items. Little sympathy from this corner …

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