Redding’s Homeless Encampments – – Part 1: RPD Deals With Another Side of the City

Two cities exist in Redding.

You know about the first one. It has streets and traffic and stores and parks and hospitals and schools and churches and a library. This first Redding is just a little slice of California, USA, where citizens work hard and play hard. They pay bills and struggle and succeed and raise families and exercise and volunteer and watch TV and enjoy the great outdoors.

Photo courtesy of the Redding Police Department

Then there’s the other Redding – the second one. It’s the focus of a series here on anewscafe.com in the following days about homeless encampments within the city limits.

Redding’s second city – the one made up of homeless encampments – is primarily hidden, though keen-eyed observers might glimpse portions of these places as they cross one of Redding’s bridges or drive along Miracle Mile, or walk, hike or bike the city’s trails, greenbelts and open spaces.

People who live here are the unsheltered homeless, many of whom suffer from mental illness and substance abuse. Some of the encampment residents are registered sex offenders, or parolees. Primarily, this population is male, but some women live here, too, all in the great outdoors.

Other days in this series we will explore the various facts and viewpoints regarding the homeless who live in these encampments. We can address exactly who they are, why they’re homeless, and the solutions to best help them.

But today, in Part 1, we look at the encampments, and efforts by the Redding Police Deparment, mainly under the direction of Officer Bob Brannon, to tackle the gargantuan task of cleaning up the encampments, and disposing of the literally tons of trash they generate each year.

Some of Redding’s most notable homeless encampments are located on both public and private properties. And, by the way, it’s illegal to camp anywhere within Redding city limits.

To law enforcement and others who clean up the encampments, or work with the unsheltered homeless, some of Redding’s most renowned homeless camp sites are found beneath the Cypress Street Bridge, and in the newly developed Henderson Open Space, and near the old Hatch Cover Restaurant, and deep down in the ravine behind the strip mall across the street from the Shopko Center.

Photo by Kat Domke - From left, Redding Police officers Bob Brannon, Dean Adams and Linda Gisske meet near the Masonic Lodge in Redding to clear out tagged homeless encampments.

That steep area off Lake Boulevard behind the Masonic Lodge is where anewscafe.com photographer Kat Domke and I recently met with a trio of Redding Police Department officers, Dean Adams, Linda Gisske and Bob Brannon. The officers were joined by four Shasta County Jail trustees assigned to help clear out homeless encampments that had been red-tagged earlier as unlawful encampments.

Our journey began about 8 a.m. on a chilly, clear day. We walked beyond the treeline, just south-west of the shopping center. At the entrance to this area was a pile of rocks with a skinny wooden cross stuck in the center. At the grave’s base were plastic flowers and a commuter coffee cup and tiny toys. One officer explained that site was where a homeless woman was found dead last year, with an empty liquor bottle near her body.

As we headed into the brush, a few people suddenly appeared, and fanned out from different points, almost ghost-like, away from the officers. Some of them carried bulging plastic trash bags. Others toted over-stuffed backpacks. Yet others dragged rolling suitcases behind them that bumped along in the dirt. One auburn-haired woman emerged from the wooded area carrying a white shopping bag, while a black dog walked beside her. The woman, whose hair was neat and clothes appeared clean, nodded in the officers’ direction, but didn’t say a word.

The officers didn’t arrest her, or, for that matter, any of the other the illegal campers we encountered that day, even the man who, hours later, yelled at the police when they reminded him that his time was up, that he had agreed to leave before that day.

“Hey! This is America!,” he said. “This is bullshit!!”

The police and their crew continued to clean up the surrounding area as the man packed and made a cell phone call for someone to pick him up.

The police officers said there’s little point in arresting the illegal campers. The jail lacks the personnel to handle more inmates, so the campers would be quickly released.

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Photos by Kat Domke

We walked steadily downhill, and along the way the officers stopped every so often to investigate camps that had reached their vacate deadline.  The officers worked with the trustees and directed them to start putting things that were left behind on tarps and in wheelbarrows for the return trip to the waiting RPD trailer. It seemed that the farther from Lake Boulevard we hiked, the greater the evidence of garbage and tents.

Finally, toward the bottom of the ravine, we stopped at a massive encampment that looked like it had 0nce held many people. The incredible quantity of scattered debris was reminiscent of what one might see in the aftermath of a hurricane. The sheer magnitude of the encampment’s mass of various stuff completely blew away any stereotypical images of Depression-era, knapsack-carrying “hobos” with bedrolls, a harmonica and a small campfire.

Photo by Kat Domke

The reality was staggering, especially considering the obviously great distance and effort people had gone to transport such a motley, weighty collection of objects so far down that ravine. But the people who dumped the stuff there were now long gone.

This site was well-rooted, well-stocked, and encompassed an area in which a few small homes could have fit.

All around and in between the tents and wooden pallets were piles of clothing, mounds of broken electronics, warped wooden tables, tangles of bicycles, wire, upturned couches, lop-sided futons, a three-legged easy chair, busted resin patio furniture, green camp stoves, rusted barbecues, ripped moldy mattresses, fractured shopping carts, cardboard signs with a variety of messages, empty prescription bottles, dirty water jugs camp fire pits and oil-smeared fast-food papers. There were many blankets. And many tents, some of which looked brand new.

Not far from this area, closer to Miracle Mile, was an encampment officers referred to as “the condo” for its massive size, and multiple “rooms” snugly situated on a whale-sized, tarp-covered plot.

Photo by Kat Domke

This particular day, said the officers, was typical of what they often find in homeless encampments.

Wood-pallet foundations are common, some of which can equal the square footage of a modest apartment. Downed trees and piles of brittle manzanita and other brush frequently form a barricade, both visually and physically, sometimes as a protection from other homeless campers.

Some of the more elaborate sites have make-shift bathrooms, often with soiled 10-gallon buckets wedged beneath off-balance toilet seats.

Meanwhile, nearby are strewn underwear, used toilet paper and empty buckets with dark-colored splattered interiors.

 

Photo courtesy of the Redding Police Department

Yet other less-sophisticated homeless camps are sometimes literally dotted with “shit holes” that range in diameter from softball- to basketball-sized.

However, there are the glaring exceptions; small encampments that are military-tidy, with just few items, such as a tent, clothes and sleeping bag.

Photo courtesy of Redding Police Department

Either way, whether the camps are big or small, they all take time. Brannon says that he takes great care to follow consistent steps before removing items from a camp site. His first step is to leave an RPD red tag on the camp site that says in bold letters, “THIS IS AN UNLAWFUL ENCAMPMENT. IMMEDIATELY REMOVE ALL ITEMS.”

The red card includes that day’s date, and the deadline by which the campers must vacate the property, and warns that all items will be removed if they are still there on that deadline date. Brannon writes case numbers on tents, photographs each encampment and records that information.

When the day arrives to clean up the camps, he and his crew pile all the abandoned items, including the trash, onto giant tarps. Those tarps are either disposed of, or left for the land-owner to haul away. Any personal items, such as wallets or private papers, the officers save and mark with the encampment information. A note is left behind saying that the owner can retrieve the items from the RPD.

While some homeless advocates have protested the disposal of  homeless campers’ possessions, Brannon said that it’s impossible to collect and save everything that’s left behind.

“I was once told that a turd-infested blanket was important to someone,” Brannon said. “The fact is we just can’t keep everything.”

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Photos by Redding Police Department

Document, document, document

Regarding the amount of time Brannon spends at the encampments, he said it varies. For example, during the first three weeks of January Brannon spent nine days working on camps, both tagging and cleaning. In December he spent just two days on camp duty. His detailed logs containg case numbers, dates and before-and-after inventories.

The following log page is typical for just one location:

Case No 11-40765:

Dec. 5, 2011, under Cypress Street Bridge, posting five tents.

Dec. 15, 2011, under Cypress Street Bridge, re-inspection, cleanup tents, gone on arrival, 900 pounds (hauled away materials).

Dec. 19, 2011, under Cypress Street Bridge, returned to remove graffiti, found three new beds.

So it went down the page, from December 5, 2011, through January 9, 2012. for case numbers 12-00638, 12-01862, 12-01889, 12-01864 and 12-00638. Recorded within those cases were descriptions of bleach bottles, tarp-draped trees, discarded clothing, riverbank trash, tents, a sofa and even a kitchen.

The cases during that time period referred to encampments beneath the Cypress Street Bridge, along Henderson Open Space, down the hill behind the Masonic Lodge and near the old Highway 99 road off Miracle Mile.

Photo courtesy of the Redding Police Department

Public complaints drive citations

It’s not as if the police make a full-time job of tracking down homeless encampments to tag and remove. But rather, Brannon said that RPD’s encampment posting and clearing is complaint-based. Complaints initiate a process that’s become quite familiar to Brannon and his team.

“I will post and do follow-up until completed,” Brannon said. “Sometimes I discover additional camps upon re-inspection, and they (newly discovered camps) start the process over.”

He acknowledges his job is like the cleaning job from hell that lasts for eternity. He cleans up homeless encampment sites, then he later returns and cleans it up again. And again. And again.

This has gone on for years, usually in the same places. But just as often RPD receives calls about homeless camping in new places, such as behind bushes, in parking lot’s planter islands, under window sills and along office building walls.

Brannon is often asked what motivates him to continue such a seemingly never-ending task. He has two answers.

” ‘A’ it’s my job, and ‘B’ I would like to keep Redding the beautiful city that it is – to keep it a safe and healthy environment,” he said.

“This is a huge health issue, because without the cleanup of trash, the areas would not be able to recover from this abuse.”

 

Why bother?

So why not leave the campers alone, as some homeless advocates suggest? A couple of reasons. For one thing, officers say that encampments left unchecked for long periods of time tend to increase in population as word spreads among the homeless about that available location.

With a swelling encampment population comes increased environmental damage and potential public health risk from greater amounts of human waste, often near sensitive waterways and seasonal flood plains. Other negative side effects are dog fights (many homeless keep dogs for protection) and homeless-on-homeless violence and sexual assault, as well as increased risk of fire from dried trees and branches cut and propped as camouflage.

Also, because Redding’s encampments tend to be near such city amenities as fast-food restaurants, retail stores, recycling centers and grocery stores, homeless camp residents often become fixtures in nearby residential areas and businesses. The result is that some businesses, like various fast-food restaurants along Lake Boulevard, find themselves with an influx of panhandlers. Public restrooms become defacto shower stalls. Tables and chairs become all-day hang-outs.

Customers protest. Business suffers. Someone calls the RPD and registers a complaint.

However, while not all calls to the RPD about “vagrants” or “transients” are necessarily related to unsheltered homeless, many are. (Click here to see the list of calls to RPD in 2011 in which the complaint involved a vagrant or transient.)

According to the RPD officers, because their department has fewer officers than in years past, many calls aren’t responded to. It’s a matter of priorities, and a major crime elsewhere in the city may trump a petty crime committed by a homeless person.

“There was a time, when we had more officers, that we could be more proactive,” RPD Officer Gisske said as she pulled on blue plastic gloves before picking up trash. “In those days, we could stop and check on something that seemed suspicious, maybe talk to a person and see what their situation was, maybe even before they became homeless. Now, we’re mainly reactive.”

Regarding the subject of homeless who live in the encampments, Gisske said that it’s an abstract concept for most people to comprehend, because they’re looking at it from their functional perspectives. She said if the average citizen were to lose their home, family and friends would be there to lend a bed until the person was in a stable financial situation again. In the case of many homeless, Gisske said that some of the people have they’ve burned  family-and-friend bridges or exhibited behaviors or/and addictions that would make unwelcome house guests.

She added that that a fair number of the homeless that she and her fellow officers encounter in the encampments have serious substance abuse issues, and that it’s not unusual for them to spend what little money they do have – such as SSI income – on drugs or alcohol, rather than housing. She said that a pattern of calls for police service bear out this observation.

“We see a lot of drunk in public calls (about homeless) around the first of the month, when people get paid,” she said. “Then the second half of the month we start seeing thefts and other crimes, when the money’s run out.”

Even so, the Redding Police Department receives calls all month long related to “vagrants”. (Click here to see the list from 2011.)

Officer Adams talked as he stepped around a gaping divot in the dirt and warned others they’d best watch out for it, he sad that although his front-line exposure to the homeless encampments haven’t made him jaded, they have caused him to believe that part of the answer to homelessness lies in those people taking more of a responsibility for their life choices.

“We see this stuff day in and day out,” he said. “It can get to you sometimes.”

Officer Gisske agreed, and she’s sympathetic, especially to the mentally ill homeless, and those who’ve lost jobs and homes or have had some personal crisis. On the other hand, she said that many social and welfare services exist in Redding to assist myriad problems, and some homeless choose to not accept or seek help.

“A lot of these people could go to the Mission, but they don’t want to, so they choose to live outside,” Gisske said as she stooped to look at a bicycle, surrounded by garbage.

“I feel torn. I know people fall on hard times. But look at this … this isn’t right, either.”

Independent online journalist Doni Chamberlain founded what’s now known as anewscafe.com in 2007 with her son, Joe Domke of the Czech Republic. Prior to 2007 Chamberlain was an award-winning newspaper opinion columnist, feature and food writer recognized by the Associated Press, the California Newspaper Publishers Association and E.W. Scripps. She lives in Redding, CA.

Doni Chamberlain
Independent online journalist Doni Chamberlain founded what’s now known as anewscafe.com in 2007 with her son, Joe Domke of the Czech Republic. Chamberlain is an award-winning newspaper opinion columnist, feature and food writer recognized by the Associated Press, the California Newspaper Publishers Association and E.W. Scripps. She lives in Redding, California.
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24 Responses

  1. Avatar DC Matthews says:

    I was homeless or in unsafe places over a decade. I grew up in abuse then foster care. Despite that I worked my way through college. But, alone, I could not overcome disability or the programs that discriminate +/or close doors as much as they open them . The "helpful" agencies that have shelter beds and a path for healthy families or substance recovery either are not accessible, charge too much, or are downright mean and won't pretend to accommodate singles with "too many medical conditions", "too many special needs."

    It took a free lawyer , who was only slightly familiar with housing law , and many years to end part of the lack of access/discrimination issues and get me into not accessible but housing where I am (not Redding).

    There are solutions and when towns were small communities they used to help their neighbors, now they pass the buck. Hey, pull yourself up by your bootstraps ! What ? Ya got no boots? TOO BAD.

    I would like to keep Redding beautiful because looking good is far more important than doing good is a sad commentary that came through. Humans surviving any way they can is less important? Why not have volunteers help them to keep the areas clean?

    Matthew 25:31-46

    The system was broken long before it was broke !

    The agencies fail many, not just in Redding. I, and many, fought them for help in many places. The solutions often don't fit many of the problems. Doing it the same way over and over and blaming the ill, the oppressed, and the downtrodden isn't going to create real, workable solutions any time soon.

    I hope Redding refocuses from irritation at the problem of people suffering homelessness to creating real solutions. They are out there.

    • DC, this story is the first in a series. It begins by describing the physical and environmental evidence the homeless encampments have left on the city, and the RPD's efforts to deal with the clean-up. Many in our community are unaware of the scope of this issue.

      The follow-up stories will delve into the human conditions, the programs that are charged with helping, and finally, opinions from those in various front-line arenas of this issue.

      As this series continues, I welcome your ongoing feedback.

      Thanks for telling your story. You make some excellent points.

      (For what it's worth, I also grew up in foster care, and I'm familiar with many of the obstacles to which you refer, sometimes that exist in the very places that are supposedly watching out for children's welfare.)

      I wish you continued success.

      Thanks for stopping by anewscafe.com and sharing your thoughts. Be well.

  2. Avatar Marc Dadigan says:

    When I was a photojournalism student in Oregon, I spent a lot of time at Portland's sanctioned tent city, Dignity Village, for the "otherwise homeless." I got to know the people living there, and took a number of admittedly rudimentary photographs.

    Here's an audio slideshow I did with Ben, a Dignity Village resident – http://www.marcdadigan.com/Dignityvillagepublisht

    Some more photos – http://marcdadigan.smugmug.com/Oregon/Dignity-Vil

    In a lot of ways, the village is a success story. The city gave them some land out near the airport for free, and the village runs and governs itself, paying for utilities and garbage pickup.

    A lot of people use the village as a launching pad – they were able to stabilize, stay with their loved ones and pets (which they can't do at shelters), and get help putting together resumes. They have had almost no issues with violence in more than 10 years, and in general they are able to all get along.

    They have more freedom and dignity staying there than at traditional shelters, and it costs a lot less for someone to live at the village than to stay at a shelter.

    There are some problems: Because of NIMBY (not in my backyard), the village is by the airport, which makes it difficult for people mired in penury to travel to the city to do job searching and shopping. This can lead to isolation, which exacerbate mental health problems. The pollution from the planes also causes a lot of respiratory illness.

    There are also a number of residents who live there for years, much to the ire of some city councilors who'd prefer it to be more of a transitional village.

    But all in all, I think settlements like Dignity Village should be used more often, and it might be a fit for Redding. It definitely would be an improvement over the status quo, especially for the homeless who are not too far away from being able and motivated to get back on their feet.

    • Avatar Kathy Anderson says:

      Dignity Village would be great in Redding as well as over here in Humboldt County. North and South HumCo activists have been going to every Co. Supes. mtgs. as well as City Hall with our insistence that there need be a Human Rights Sanctuary to protect the poorest from unhealthy elements. Send us a good word if you get a chance. Good comment.

  3. Avatar Sue says:

    Doni,

    This is such and important story. Thank you for such excellent coverage.

    Sue

  4. Community Parolee Re Entry Concerns ? Do you have a Blog ? Website ? Please help get the word out about Redding Coalition for the Homeless – Invite Your Friends ! Please Share !

    http://www.facebook.com/events/122434537877454/

  5. Avatar Gracious Palmer says:

    from http://blog.oregonlive.com/portland_impact/print…..

    "Portland (Oregon) warming centers open to homeless as weather deteriorates"

    At the Women's Winter Warming Center; Men's Expanded Shelter; Imago Dei Church; Downtown Chapel Roman Catholic Parish, etc.

    We provide "cooling" shelters/centers in our horrendous heat. Why not "warming" centers? Could be provided by governmental, religious and nonprofit institutions.

    Gracious Palmer

    Box 50o02

    Shasta Lake, CA 95089-5002

    530-275-0325

  6. Avatar Deborah Vercammen says:

    It is sad to see so many actual homeless people living in the woods like animals. There is no help for people with metal heath issues….there are no warming centers in Redding since the County has chosen not to open up the Armory any longer. The mission is most like full and there are no low cost areas for people to live with all of the motels that used to be available closed down or torn down. Where do these people go? Why can't the county and other non-profit agencies put some out houses out for them? Why can't they have a little piece of ground to camp? Is this so hard? Don't we have to watch endless commercials about saving children in other third world countries with sad eyes? These people are USA citizens and yes, they have problems and they are pigs in some cases but not all of them. The amount of time and money the police are putting into these camps and clean up is coming out of public funds…isn't there another answer? Come on people there are a lot of smart individuals that might have some kind of solution for the homeless. It isn't going to get better without someone trying to find a way to help clean it up and give them a place to go.

    Is there any money out there for homeless people? Is there any charities that help them besides the Mission?

  7. Avatar J.D. Peters says:

    I look forward to the rest of the series. The problems of the homeless are many. Mental illness and self medication is common, but not THE cause in every case.

    San Francisco and other cities with far more resources have struggled with this issue for many years. I was reading about an interesting approach taken by the City in a SF Gate article. Social Workers and Volunteers are trying to help the homeless re-build burnt bridges with family and past friends. Family, and old friends are contacted, and then assistance given with transportation to family and home towns where it will be harder to "fall between the cracks".

  8. Avatar Insanity Prevails says:

    Let's see, it's OK for occupy people to "camp" within a city's limits but the poor homeless who just want to be left alone get harassed, ousted and have their stuff thrown away. What is wrong with this picture, America? The leftist vermin can find themselves within their rights, but the destitute whether by mental or economic disorder are breaking the law. I think it's high time there was a place for these people so they can live off our abundant trash and/or donations so they can have some sort of self respect and possibly work through their down and out-ness with some support from the community. Hey, I appreciate the work you did here on this article but how would you like it if we went through all your stuff taking pictures to post for the world to see? That's what I thought. These people are our christian responsibility folks and the occupiers can rot on their hypocrisy.

  9. Avatar Terry says:

    This is a powerful, thought-provoking article, Doni. Thank you!

  10. Avatar Joanne Lobeski Snyde says:

    Excellent article Doni. I can't wait to read the next pieces. I have a friend who is homeless, and I will be really interested to understand why other homeless people live under the conditions in which they do. My friend, who is very bright and knowledgeable but one cog off, has chosen how he wants to live. He doesn't want to, or maybe is not capable of holding a job. He doesn't drink alcohol or use drugs. And I don't think he would consider himself homeless, because he has a place to live and it's well maintained and clean. Again, great article.

  11. Avatar Adrienne Jacoby says:

    Such important information for all of us. This first article is just to let us know what is out there. Many of we Redding residents are totally unaware of these camps. If we as a community are going to find a way to help, we have to first be made aware of the situation. Thank you for doing this series.

  12. Randall Smith Randall Smith says:

    Thank you Doni for the time and skill you have lavished on this important report. It seems some seek to shoot the messenger, all too common today. Others project a cause or cure away from people who actually are breaking the law which binds us all on the side apart from anarchy. These camps don't ring a bell of civil liberty as did Rosa Parks. They are a hidden and dark aspect of human kind too often unknown or denied because it is offensive and painful to discover and admit. Hopefully, your investigative energy and exposure will enlighten and motivate everyone to act with respect and responsibility toward our shared precious natural resources and those charged with its protection.

  13. Avatar shelly shively says:

    Thanks, Doni, for shining light on a situation that is in dire need of addressing. Perhaps this will instigate creative ideas & solutions for what seems to be an impossible dilemma. Well done, Doni…I'm looking forward to following the rest of your series. Excellent photos, too, from RPD & Kat Domke…visuals that transcend words.

  14. Avatar pmarshall says:

    Thank you, Doni. This very eye-opening. No, I am certain most people are not aware of this in our area. And it should not be happening in America. It is worse than many can imagine. This is Depression number 2. We could put the blame where it belongs, but, no, we can't do that!

  15. Avatar Barbara N says:

    Excellent article Doni. You are an amazing journalist and I am looking forward to the rest of the series.

  16. Avatar Laurie O says:

    Insanity, your hyperbole about Occupy suggests that you may not have actually set foot in an Occupation in the real world.

    As someone who has, as a member of Occupy Redding I can assure you that not only have we NOT camped or broken any laws in our three-month daytime occupation, we have provided resource information, referrals, food, hot beverages, clothes and sleeping bags to members of the local homeless community, and have gained respect and support from not only them, but of RPD and community businesses.

    And let's calm down a tad and get a little perspective here: Regarding those Occupations that have dared to conduct some illegal camping, surely the corporate raiders who helped to bring down our economy and send our jobs offshore are guilty of far more heinous crimes than a snooze in the park.

    Your hostility is a little overwrought — Don't worry: We aren't out to get you. We're just your neighbors, and we're down the street handing out hot tea and information about corporate corruption and income inequity in this country.

    And you know, you're sounding an awful lot like one of us "leftist vermin" with: "I think it's high time there was a place for these people so they can live off our abundant trash and/or donations so they can have some sort of self respect and possibly work through their down and out-ness with some support from the community."

    Our Occupation would join me in saying, "Well said!"

  17. Avatar kirsten says:

    …………… how do you become a "leftist vermin" ??? Can I sign up????

  18. Avatar Debra says:

    I'm sorry but I don't care for this kind of picture taking. You put people at risk… lets see some solutions.I'm tired of seeing negative…show pics of your toilets.can we have some divinity?? This kind of reporting gets communities riled up and creates mob mentally..
    my thoughts only..
    Southern Humboldt's Advocate

  19. Let me first off say that offering up people's lives and picking on them for having nothing and trying to live is complete crap.

    As they say.. if your not part of the solution.. then your part of the problem.. if you can't tell people how to better handle/improve upon the situation then you are just fueling an already volatile situation.

    Why not put some information that would actually help people who might be homeless or soon will be?

    What would you do if you were in the situation they are in?

    You have no family no friends, everything you have is gone.. then what?

    I just love how the solutions so far have been. pretty much patch it up make it look pretty for now so we don't have to deal with it.

  20. Avatar Marco says:

    We have a business in downtown Redding and homeless people often use our doorway as a toilet. I have a lot of compassion for people who are going through tough times but when certain ones choose to show such disgusting disrespect then there is a definite problem that needs to be addressed. We are trying to run a business and nobody wants to walk through a pile shit or old piss stains to get into our establishment.

    I've also walked in many of the hills and trails around Redding and it's sad to see the mess left by a lot of these illegal campers. If they had the respect to clean up after themselves it probably wouldn't be as much of an issue.

    If you ask me, if people want to cause trouble and trash a city, Redding should be known as a place where that will not be tolerated.

  21. Avatar DianeWA55 says:

    Diane from WA_What about having tent cities like they do in WA. They have rules and its kept clean and safe for those that live there.

  22. Avatar Mark says:

    I am a traveling ‘gypsy’. Experienced backpacker and camper. I love the land. I would never leave trash or destruction. The problem with the homeless is that they don’t know how to camp. I could teach them, those who might care. But this goes against the American way, which is mostly about consume and waste, and create another job description to clean it up. Most normal people generate way more trash than the ‘homeless’, but they exist within the cleanup matrix. I am more invisible than the ‘homeless’. I probably don’t exist within the possibilities of your mind. Making camping illegal is not a solution. Introducing Americans to a way of relating to the land – a sort of cultural transitional adjustment is more of a ‘solution’. The ‘homeless’ are just trying to be like you ‘normal’ folks. I am more like the ‘native Americans’ who were here before the Europeans, and we know what happened to them. Oops, maybe I’m better off staying invisible. You don’t even have to give up your technology, I didn’t. Living in boxes, well that’s just not for me. Beautiful town, by the way.