Sausalito has begun quoting residents of a homeless camp that has been moved by the water to camp outside of a city-designated site.
Two campers who were relocated from town to Dunphy Park last month were given tickets to illegal camping outside the 24,000-square-foot fenced area in Marinship Park on July 7, city officials said. Michael Ortega and Daniel Eggnik were each fined $ 500.
Ortega said the couple were in the process of moving and setting up camp outside of the cordoned off area as the fenced room was overcrowded.
“It was really hectic,” said Ortega. “People have established themselves in the midst of the chaos in the fence. So we just stayed outside the fence. We had another family with us who just wanted to stay safe and separate from all the chaos that was going on.
“People had a lot of stuff lying around in all the different rooms and people were trying to use more than one room,” he said. “So, yeah, we just weren’t fast enough and they came to tell me I need to bring my things to the fenced-off area.”
While people in the new location have settled in, he said that adding more stress and anxiety to the situation doesn’t help the people who are homeless.
“Everyone was very excited and stressed, excited and afraid because they were locked in a fenced area. It was like a lot of chaos and screaming. … people felt attacked by the police for forcing them to relocate. … It is just wrong to let people pay who are homeless or have a hard time. “
Ortega said he will fight the charges in court but hopes police will stop issuing tickets.
Mayor Jill Hoffman said the city is determined to help those who do not have access to alternative housing. She said about 35 of the 40 websites are in use. She said it was premature to determine the exact number of campers as they are still setting up their places. She said there was no need to expand the area.
Housing activist and camp resident Robbie Powelson said the camp’s population fluctuated between 30 and 40 people. He said city officials are failing to adhere to their own ordinance by restricting people to only part of the lawn and issuing tickets.
“I think the reason they make them so expensive is because they don’t expect people to pay for those tickets,” Powelson said. “It’s a way to keep suppressing people and disenfranchising the community and using fear to put people in detention centers because people aren’t here voluntarily. You tie people up with violence, and that’s all. “
Hoffman said the city is complying with a federal judge’s decision in May that allowed the city to disband the camp and relocate it to Marinship Park. It was the city’s second attempt to clear the site. She withdrew from her efforts in February while a homeless rights group lawsuit went to court.
She said the city set up the 40 tent site with help from Urban Alchemy of San Francisco.
“Urban Alchemy recommended the fences and privacy screens to help campers feel more secure in the new transition facility,” she wrote in an email. “The remaining lawn of around 39,000 square meters in Marinship Park is available for public recreation.”
She said the fenced area includes a 256-square-foot campsite, which exceeds the 144-square-foot minimum recommendations issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for pandemic safety.
“The city also included four-foot-wide walking paths between sites, as well as six-foot public safety access routes for first responders,” she said. “In addition, the city had space for cooking, additional toilets and hand washing stations, as well as garbage and recycling bins and garbage containers.”