Where to House the Homeless and Treat the Addicted? Stillwater Business Park

Stillwater Business Park is a place I have long referred to as (forgive me) Stillbirth Business Park.

Redding Mayor Patrick Jones (in gray suit) cuts the Stillwater Business Park ribbon Friday with realtor Rob Middleton, former EDC chair who also who helped locate the Stillwater property. Looking on are council member Missy McArthur (beside Jones), Redding City Manager Kurt Starman (second from right), and Economic Development Corporation Chair Brad Frost (far right). April 2010.

Then-Mayor Patrick Jones (in gray suit) cuts the Stillwater Business Park ribbon in April of 2010 with realtor Rob Middleton, former EDC chair who also who helped locate the Stillwater property. Looking on are council member Missy McArthur (beside Jones), Redding City Manager Kurt Starman (second from right), and Economic Development Corporation Chair Brad Frost (far right).

Even so, I’ll give the benefit of the doubt to the well-intentioned folks who came up with the idea of Stillwater Business Park in the first place, before our Great Recession knocked the stuffing out of our economy.

Industrial real estate is supposed to be hot in California, but Stillwater Business Park isn't selling. Photo by R.V. Schiede.

Industrial real estate is supposed to be hot in California, but Stillwater Business Park sales have run cold. Photo by R.V. Schiede.

But it’s hard to ignore the fact that since its groundbreaking in 2010 that unveiled Stillwater’s 700 acres and 16 “ready-to-go” parcels, the park has snagged only one tenant, Lassen Canyon Nursery, a berry-growing business that committed to buying Parcel 7 in 2015, and paid $840,000 for the parcel last year. 

By the way, in December of 2010, Parcel No. 7 was also briefly courted by Southern Aluminum Finishing Company, which eventually went away.

The Redding City Council was so happy to finally have its first official Stillwater buyer that the entire city council agreed to to give Lassen Canyon Nursery $60,000 in credits to use in lieu of various development fees, which could have been significant since the strawberry plant producers planned to build a 20,000-square-foot corporate office, a 30,000-square-foot cooler and a shipping/receiving office.

Reporter Jon Lewis expounded on the rest of the Lassen Canyon Nursery arrangement in his May 5, 2016 Redding City Council story:

City Manager Kurt Starman said the 20 Lassen Canyon jobs will pay an average of $22 an hour, including benefits. As per the city policy, $3,000 in credit is applied for each job created.

To qualify for the credit, Lassen Canyon has to provide the new jobs for a minimum of five years. The new positions will include sales managers, greenhouse technicians, lab manager, warehouse manager, and clerical staff.

Lassen Canyon Nursery’s original plan was to begin operations at Stillwater in 2016. I was curious about the hold-up, so Monday I contacted Elizabeth-Elwood Ponce, one of the nursery’s co-owners, for some clarification. Her reply was brief, but illuminating:

“We do own the lot in Stillwater. We have suspended our building plans. The market for the plants we would be growing there seems to be shrinking. We are holding the land until we find an appropriate project.”

Suspended building plans? That sounds serious.

Things aren’t looking so good at Stillwater when you consider Lassen Canyon Nursery’s latest revelation and combine it with the disappointing news about Emerald Kingdom, the greenhouse manufacturer that took its operation to Red Bluff after its bid for a Stillwater Business Park parcel was rejected.

I’m afraid that with our poor Stillwater Business Park, this isn’t a case of the emperor having no clothes. Rather, when it comes to the Stillwater Business Park, there is no emperor, at least not a live one. The frustrating part is that despite the fact that Stillwater has yet to draw an single unassisted breath, it’s still officially here, languishing on life support. And all the while it’s very existence is costing the city of Redding and its people millions and millions and millions of dollars. And what do we get for that investment? Nearly diddly-squat, that’s what.

stillwater pr image

It’s OK to admit Stillwater Business Park was DOA, and to acknowledge the fact that Stillwater Business Park is no more a thriving business park than Redding’s South City Park is a playground safe for children.

If you want backup, look no further than the Shasta County Grand Jury’s 2017 scathing report, Stillwater Business Park – Still Spending; Still Waiting. Here’s the first paragraph:

The City of Redding and Redding Electric Utility have, together, spent close to $41 million to fund the land and infrastructure development at Stillwater Business Park. The City of Redding continues to spend almost $1 million a year from the General Fund on the project. Stillwater Business Park is located near the Redding Municipal Airport and consists of industrial-ready parcels currently for sale by the City of Redding. City of Redding administrators frequently cite the cost of the project at $23 million, which was the cost to buy and develop the property. However, the cost rises to $41 million when debt repayments and electrical and infrastructure by Redding Electric Utility are included. Future scheduled interest and principal repayments to service long-term bond debt over the next 20 years by both the City of Redding and Redding Electric Utility will increase the total known cost to $59 million if the bond debts are not paid off prior to maturity.

“Total known cost to $59 million . . .”

Let that sink in for a moment. But for a real eye-opener, read the entire report. (Click on the hyperlink above, and scroll down to Stillwater Business Park – Still Spending; Still Waiting.)

The Grand Jury recommended that Redding investigate whether the 700-acre park is even viable, and to come up with other potential uses for the property.

Sometimes, whether it’s a bad marriage or a rotten job or a failing investment (emus, anyone?), there comes a time to admit when something isn’t working. The smart, mature and healthy thing to do is to acknowledge when something’s failed, and then figure out what will work.

I have a use for Stillwater Business Park.  But first, we’d have to accept that Stillwater Business Park will never be a successful business park.

What if we transformed that shovel-ready space into a life-changing and restorative place, not just for the people it served within its borders, but people throughout the entire north state and beyond?

I propose that the current Stillwater Business Park becomes the future Stillwater Park, a healing place away from Redding’s city center that could feature, in part, a state-of-the-art mental health and addiction-recovery center.

I propose the new Stillwater Park also offers basic shelter with showers for the homeless, from veterans and the mentally ill to aged-out foster kids. Think tiny house meets rustic bunkhouse; the kinds of places I would love to reserve for my summer vacation at a state park.

What if, in addition to being a place that provided basic nutrition, clothing, shelter and mental health services for those most in need, the new Stillwater Park offered – and in most cases required – its residents opportunities to work, and learn new skills to the extent where they could eventually become functioning, contributing members of our community again one day?

I see the new Stillwater Park a substance-free place operated with military precision, a voluntary place where the residents accept help in exchange for a commitment of hard work and participation.

What if this new Stillwater Park took advantage of our agriculturally desirable Mediterranean climate and became a place that boasted gardens, orchards, beehives and vineyards that produced and sold vegetables, fruits, nuts, olive oil, honey and wine?

What if Stillwater Park residents raised sheep and chickens that produced and sold wool, cheese and eggs?

What if this new Stillwater Park helped transform Shasta County’s current image from a dead-end, crime-ridden, backwater, come-on-vacation-leave-on-probation Poverty Flats, to a rich and thriving renaissance center, an enviable model of wellness, growth, productivity and compassion?

You want to see something trippy? Take a look at this partial list of Shasta County non-profits.  As you peruse the lists, remember that these non-profits are funded by us – the people. Here’s something else, check out this resource list provided by People of Progress.  What an array of services, right here in the north state. With all those services, you’d think we wouldn’t have a care in the world.

It would be an interesting investigation to determine how much redundancy exists within and between those organizations. And it would be even more interesting to calculate how much money is funneled into those organizations and exactly how much the community actually benefits from those funds. But I digress.

What if the new Stillwater Park was a one-stop center – ala One Safe Place – that offered myriad humane social, educational, vocational and treatment services all in one place?

The way it is now, there are dozens of charitable agencies and non-profits (see above) scattered throughout the north state, many in different buildings, in different locations miles apart, with different hours and days of operation, as well as different requirements for different specialty populations and different hoops to jump through and lots of often-repetitive red-tape-tied paperwork to fill out.

As Trish Clarke, former Shasta County Supervisor, so eloquently put it recently, many of these nonprofits are protecting their own precious little bowls of rice, and they are loathe to share.

I submit, for the sake of the people who urgently need these services — as well as our community, which has reached a boiling point of disgust, fear and dissatisfaction — it’s time for more sharing and less redundancy. It’s time for nonprofit organizations and agencies to collaborate and combine resources for the greater good of us all.

We are sorely in need of a lot of good in our community, because everyone agrees that Redding’s new normal is unacceptable. We are in desperate need of good here in Shasta County, because things are so terribly bad.

Dr. Greg Greenberg aptly expressed in his recent article what many of us feel lately:

“I drive around Redding and I lament how our city has gone downhill, as many of you have. Unfortunately, I’m stuck somewhere between bleeding heart liberal and ‘get the hell out of my town’. These are real people who are suffering and the problem is far more complex than just more police or spikes on benches. They need treatment and compassion, but they also need accountability and responsibility. I don’t know the answer to our growing problem with drugs and homelessness, but clearly something different needs to be done.”

I agree 100 percent with Dr. Greenberg. I also challenge you to imagine that you or someone you love is homeless or nearly homeless, unemployed or nearly unemployed, addicted, or hungry, or suicidal. You need help ASAP. Not next week. Imagine being in a dire situation and trying to navigate the maze of all those nonprofits and agencies to get help before it’s too late.

A person could die – people do die – before getting the help they so desperately need here in our north state.

If you think I’m being hyperbolic, read this story about 14-year-old Josh Valdez.

Or this one about Colby Brousseau, written by his mother, .

I could fill this space with hyperlinks to stories like these, but you get the idea.

I’ve written about homelessness, poverty and mental health issues my entire career, and I’ve noticed a pattern. Every time I address those topics – every time – I hear from indignant folks who say something like, “Why didn’t you mention our nonprofit group and all the good we do for this population?”

Cue eye roll. 

Consider that if I, a journalist who’s lived in this city practically forever, was unaware of these programs, how in the world is some zoned-out addict steeped in a heroin haze under the Cypress Street Bridge supposed to know about them?

I have no doubt many of these organizations are stellar, but how can we expect the most downtrodden and despaired to find those places, often without transportation, without food, without money, and many times without the mental and/or emotional wherewithal to do any more than put one foot in front of the other in the heat of the summer and the cold of the winter? These people have no bootstraps from which to pull themselves up. Hell, they have no boots.

A woman sleeps with her belongings in the dirt off Pine Street in Redding. Photo by Doni Chamberlain

A woman sleeps with her belongings in the gravel off Pine Street in Redding. Photo by Doni Chamberlain

I believe there’s a reason we are all here. I believe that every one of us possesses unique gifts and callings. Ultimately, I believe that our primary reason for being born is to help – whether it’s helping people, animals or the earth. I also believe that everyone needs a sense of connection and purpose, and without them, our lives lack meaning.

Some studies even suggest the correlation between addictions and isolation, and conversely, how human connections help keep addictions at bay.

That’s where I see the value of Stillwater Park, a healthy, structured place filled with activity, productivity, creativity, and, most of all, tangible hope through supportive human connections and wellness resources.

I also see a boarding-school of sorts on the property for the kids of some of these folks, which would eliminate foster homes, and give broken families access to one another while the parents heal.

How to fund such a Utopian place, you say? For starters, many needy people subsist on some sort of disability income – not enough to actually rent a place and live a civilized life, of course. Besides, who would rent to them in their current sorry state, anyway? Not I. There’s enough money at the beginning of the month for food, maybe a motel room and a shower, and then the rest is blown on mind-and-soul-altering substances that numb the reality of living in the dirt like feral animals. Behold, we have American society’s lowest caste members.

So, in my dreams that disability money could be tapped, somehow. Perhaps at Stillwater Park the residents get vouchers to “buy” things at the Stillwater Park store, and perhaps some of their money is set aside in an account each month so that when they do leave, they have some money saved up for first and last month’s rent so they can one day have a clean, fresh, independent start.

I haven’t figured out that part. Maybe you have an answer. I’m all ears.

Of course, Shasta County and all its towns and cities would be expected to contribute heavily, too. Surrounding counties that wanted to ship its most troubled residents to Stillwater Park would pay dearly for that luxury. But our first priority would be to care for the troubled souls here among us.

And what about those resistant folks who need help but refuse it, who shun the offer of healing and restoration? Those will receive special handouts: a sack lunch and a one-way bus ticket to the city of their choice.

Meanwhile, all those charitable non-profits (I’m not talking about 4-H clubs) would give too, including churches and places of worship of every belief system and denomination. Consider it a form of community tithing, if you will.

No more of the revolving door of churches giving out sleeping bags and tents and clothes that end up dumped in illegal encampments and along riverbanks that are routinely raided and leveled by police and community clean-up crews, followed by well-meaning people who give yet more sleeping bags and tents and clothes to these needy people all over again. And over and over and over again.

Illegal encampments are routinely leveled, only to reappear elsewhere.

Illegal encampments are routinely leveled, only to reappear elsewhere.

What a waste. And how merciless to think that handing out tents and sleeping bags to the least among us is good enough, knowing full well that these people must go illegally “camp” in unsanitary conditions that would drive any of us to drink? In what altered reality does that unwashed, unfed, unhealthy refugee-model make sense here in the supposedly great United States of America? Surely, we’re better than that.

Just another day in Library Park.

Just another day in Library Park.

Additional funding can come from the hospitals, health centers and clinics that are currently overrun with the homeless and addicted, places that have become unsafe and unsavory for employees and patients alike.

But the biggest piece of the puzzle is us. What if we the people – all of us – contributed?

I’d much rather put money directly to a place that actually helps people who have addiction and mental health issues than pay for more cops to arrest more people who will only be released and arrested, released and arrested. Over and over again.

Friend Sona Shahbazi, formerly of Redding, posed it this way on her Facebook page, regarding helping people with addiction issues in particular:

“Maybe the community needs to put together a nonprofit organization that will address these issues. But it’s going to take more than just getting these people clean. They’re going to need resources and tools so that they can be productive members of the community. . . And if you can’t get the funding for a nonprofit, then start a Go Fund Me account. I know I would donate $20 a month for my hometown. Anybody willing to match that or raise it? $20 times 1,600 people would bring $32,000 a month. The last time I checked Redding’s population was more than 1,600 people. It’s time for the people to start taking care of their own. Because relying on city leaders or anyone above to address these problems is not going to happen.”

Amen, Sona. Now, extrapolate her concept of giving to not just her modest sample of 1,600 people, but every north state adult, and we’re talking real money for real change.

There are myriad organizations – God bless them every one – that do their best to feed some of the homeless. I say “some” because there are many street people who go without food and water, which is why you’ll see scruffy people going through fast-food garbage cans.

But just feeding the homeless is a teasing – dare I say cruel – form of life support that offers sustenance to enable the down-and-out to exist yet another miserable day, only to experience another sunrise and another 24 hours of a mind-numbingly hopeless, shitty, depressing existence. Big whoop. And we give ourselves bonus points for feeding the hungry on Thanksgiving and Christmas so we don’t feel so damn guilty.

Better still would be the more humane component of not just giving the needy food, or even clothing and shelter, but adding an improved 24/7 quality of life to the mix, as well as dignity, topped with a sense of worth, hope and human value.

If a staggering, skinny dog was seen wandering down Miracle Mile, someone would surely call Haven Humane Society and in a jiffy its dedicated officers would rush in and save the poor creature.

We see down-and-out people every day along our streets, behind our buildings, in our ravines and in our neighborhoods. We see them in our library where they doze on urine-soaked chairs. We see thin, sunburned, filthy people passed out on the lawn of our Redding City Hall, post offices and parking lots.

homeless asleep - morguefile photo

And yes, we see them wandering down Miracle Mile. We complain about people who poop, pee and have sex out in the open – yes, like animals, we say. Well, where are humans supposed to do all those human functions, when they lack the privacy of a place of their own?

Most of our street people look far worse than my hypothetical skinny, starving, thirsty dog. Even so, there’s nobody to call for help, unless there’s a crime in progress.

I’m here to tell you that here is a crime in progress; a crime against humanity, and it’s happening right here in our community.

Stillwater Park might be one solution to help our community. Plus, it might be the solution to finally give Stillwater Business Park a sense of purpose, too.

Doni Chamberlain
Independent online journalist Doni Chamberlain founded what’s now known as anewscafe.com in 2007 with her son, Joe Domke. 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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136 Responses

  1. Avatar conservative says:

    In the next recession, Redding will probably be in municipal bankruptcy.  In bankruptcy court, the city will have to sell assets like Stillwater and the REU natural gas power plants for pennies on the dollar.

    Redding city staff should remember that the business cycle has not been repealed.  Another recession is inevitable.  I would not be surprised if Vallejo and San Bernardino go back into bankruptcy.  Chico is in even worse shape financially than Redding.  http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-state-auditor-program-20161023-snap-story.html

    Redding should survey those assets which are not necessary for its function as a city and liquidate them now when it will get the best possible price.   The proximity to the airport is a great selling point. There are private investors who would buy Stillwater if the restrictions are removed.

  2. Avatar Kirsten says:

    Great article, Doni, and so very timely.

  3. Avatar trek says:

    I care to say that you’ve done a 180 in your homeless writing? I too have changed my views. Time to address and implement potential solutions even if they don’t pan out. Enough with studies and town hall meetings. Time to act. I won’t get into the business park but I agree with the above poster, remove restrictions and subdivide the lots and open it up to smaller business. I’ve been told the circular staircases at Cypress Street Bridge have been gated shut because of the homeless people using them? If this is true then there lies part of the problem, abuse of power.

  4. Avatar Beverly Stafford says:

    Doni, in addition to redoing your new home, you have written two articles this August (probably while waiting for your permits to be approved) that have/will have hundreds of comments and responses.  Although I wasn’t eloquent and thorough as you are in this piece, I have suggested several times here on A News Cafe that Stillbirth be used rather than sitting idle and costly.  Seems odd that an area lying fallow can cost so much.  We know that Brent Weaver reads A News Cafe – at least occasionally.  Perhaps all of us should print this article and flood the City Council with it in the hope that it might open their eyes to a new idea.

    Thanks for his post.  You’ve obviously given this a lot of thought, and it’s evident that you really do love this town and want to see it do an about face to what it once was.

    • Thanks, Beverly. I do love this town, but I confess that lately I find myself wondering how much longer I can tolerate our city’s downward spiral before I pull up stakes and leave. I’m all for hanging in there and doing the hard work to improve things, but without some kind of leadership and direction for real change, my contributions will be a drop in the bucket.

      (And I wish I were waiting for permit approval. I’m still waiting for my paperwork to be submitted. So frustrating.)

  5. Avatar Dustin says:

    I am sorry, I couldn’t get past the fact that the somebody or corporation paid $840,000 for dirt?!? Did I read that wrong? They bought dirt for $840,000 with nothing on it. I think that’s the problem with the “park”. If that’s not a ripoff, pray someone do tell me what is. I understand that zoning and location is an important part of the pricing, but if no one is buying, its time to look at what you are selling.

    • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

      The City paid big bucks to bring roads and utilities to the parcels, and to do the environmental permitting.  It’s not just dirt.  It’s “shovel-ready” for development.

      But you’re right……the recession is long over, and no takers except for the one the City chased off.  Re-thinking the future of Stillwater Business Park is probably overdue.

      • Avatar Dustin says:

        No disagreement here, your right they did make the land shovel ready. $840,000 worth of shovel ready?  That’s a pipe dream price.

        • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

          How is it a pipe dream?  Lassen Canyon Nursery bought the 17-acre lot for that price.  They made a business decision to do so, so it’s hard to argue that the price-per-acre $49.5k per acre) is wildly out of line.  Their expansion plans have since changed, but they still own the lot.

          There’s an unimproved lot for sale in Anderson’s Paul Bunyan Industrial Park for $75k per acre.  Stillwater’s prices aren’t the primary problem.

          And yes, the Lesson Canyon Nursery sale means that my statement “…no takers except for the one (Emerald Kingdom) that the City chased off” is flat wrong.  They’ve sold one lot.  The job-creation part remains a pipe dream.

  6. Avatar gini holmes says:

     …it’s time for more sharing and less redundancy. It’s time for nonprofit organizations and agencies to collaborate and combine resources for the greater good of us all.”   

    I have never understood why this is so hard to implement.  The excuse that the funding pot is limited and each needs to do what it can to survive (i.e.: prove that one provides better services than another,) just doesn’t fly.  Cooperation and collaboration strengthens and distributes services through efficiency.  Yes, it takes time to get in sync, but the end result is so rewarding – for everyone.  

    We must get over our survival of the fittest mentality in order to create a world fit for survival.

    • We must get over our survival of the fittest mentality in order to create a world fit for survival.

      I agree, Gini. Well said.

      I go a little crazy when I see all the nonprofit organizations that have similar missions but protect their slice of the pie and actually are in competition for funding, which means a lot of little pots of money are dispersed that never really live up to their mission statements.

  7. R.V. Scheide Jr. R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

    I went out to Stillwater a couple of months ago, the gate was open, so I snuck in and looked around a little bit. It was late spring, so everything was still pretty green. The creek was actually running. All the entry roads and electrical infrastructure are in place, just waiting for businesses to plug in an go. The airport is walking distance. It’s very easy to imagine several modern business campuses situated in the rolling river landscape. Or a state-of-the-art mental health facility, some sort of technical school, or heck, even a new county jail. This is obviously still a very valuable asset for the city of Redding and Shasta County. As the grand jury report noted, the city has dropped the ball marketing Stillwater. But perhaps the private sector has dropped the ball, too. If they don’t want to buy into this property, why not seek out massive state and federal grants, raise some local tax revenue, and build the facilities we need to deal with criminal justice reform and its side effects?

    • Exactly! And R.V., you know more about the whole AB 109 issue than I, but I failed to mention one of the supposed perks of that whole early prison release program was to funnel money into the counties where the parolees were convicted and then released. Where is that money?


      • Avatar trek says:

        Is it possible “that” money went to the same place most all of the tobacco money went to?

      • R.V. Scheide Jr. R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

        We are getting millions of AB 109 prison realignment and associated criminal justice reform funding from the state for reeducating prisoners, including a GE diploma program in the jail and college level courses at Shasta College. Probation has been in some excellent evidence-based programs. Where we keep missing out is the big ticket items, i.e., expanded jail and mental health capacity. Shasta County declined first $33 million in state grant funding in 2012 then $20 million this year  that would have expanded existing jail capacity to the level required. The county said it couldn’t afford its side of the bargain as the reason for declining the grants. Can the county afford not to have the jail and mental health capacity every expert who has looked at this problem declares we need? Who’s being recalled?

        • Avatar trek says:


          Every tax paying citizen in Shasta County should look up the department heads and see exactly why the county can’t afford a new jail and has to turn down grant monies. Citizens can’t keep turning a blind eye and ignoring the problems. COR has top gun people with equal pay so good qualified people will stick around, equal to many larger better run cities. Some of those blotted salaries are outlandish to say the least. Look what some fire captains make just because their short staffed and overtime is a premium. It’s a slap in the face….. no wait, a FULL UPPER CUT AND KNOCK OUT TO THE PEOPLE!

  8. Greg Greenberg Greg Greenberg says:

    Great article, Doni.  I know that several cities have looked at tiny houses for housing the homeless.  Creating a space for housing and feeding (and policing) the homeless would take money and leadership but it is the only option that makes sense.  Last year my children kept asking what would we do if we won the lottery.  Their dreams included lamborghinis, houses, travel, and a large dog sanctuary.  Mine was a village of tiny houses for the homeless.  We even discussed rules, infrastructure, and possible locations.  When you get this idea approved and funded, I will be happy to help with addiction medicine services. 🙂

    • Darn it. You made me cry. I love the thought of you and your kids talking about rules, infrastructure and locations.

      But most of all, I am blown away by your offer to help with the addiction medicine services. That’s huge. Thank you!

      OK, now, who else do we need for this dream team?

  9. Avatar Shelly Shively says:

    Bravo, Doni, on not just illuminating the humanity crisis in our city, but in offering a brilliant solution.   I am covered in goosebumps in readying your  article:  inspirational solutions to seemingly hopeless situations.

    I believe your ideas are more than viable, and  make perfect sense   All that can be asked now, is “Why not?”  City leaders and Redding citizens, “What if, and why not?”

  10. Avatar T J Gold says:

    Thank you for writing a clear and workable solution to this horrible problem the City has concerning Stillwater Park.

  11. Avatar Cassie says:

    Great article and fantastic idea Doni! It’s time to get real and find creative solutions around here. This would kill two birds with one stone. I’d definitely support this and contribute monthly in perpetuity to see it succeed. I think most people will too, we need to try something.

  12. Randall Smith Randall Smith says:

    One item that deserves consideration is many of those living illegally in our public space is they choose that life style.  How do you force people to the golden cure routine you propose?  Being poor is not a crime.  Violators of multiple ordinances could be sentenced to Stillwater Magic, but could they be compelled to stay?

    Besides all this EDC was meeting in Manhattan last week with a client who could buy the entire park.  This was almost accomplished last Christmas.  Only California’s negative business climate stopped 4200 high paying jobs from being at Stillwater.

    Lastly, “if you build it, they will come.”  Be careful what you wish to have.  We are already a nationally known hand out city because of our giving cash out of windows and until recently non enforcement of good rules.

    Who wrote “It’s easy to propose impossible remedies.”?  Until we fix the broken family and return to individual responsibility,  we are adrift in a sea of trouble.

    • Avatar Joe Bob Briggs says:

      Nothing is more deluded, pernicious, and toxic than the idea that people CHOOSE to live the cushy life of being some combination of addicted, homeless, jobless, and shunned by society. Yes, sleeping on the ground, roasting in 110º+ weather, and soaking in the freezing rain is obviously something people WANT to do.

      I guess it is easier to believe that one is a paragon of self-determination when one is among the most privileged people to ever set foot on the planet. (Gender, race, class, nation, generation, etc.)

      • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

        Seen any good flicks at the drive-in lately, Joe Bob?

        Here is Joe Bob’s America blog on the homelessness problem.  Interesting read—especially the laundry list of lessons learned.

      • Avatar Liz Andrade says:

        Truly privileged people are those who take advantage of opportunities available in this country for  everyone.   Free education, staying clean, using our free libraries and youtube educational seminars, living frugally and with a civil demeanor that makes an employer proud.    Those raised in the ’60s had the civil rights movement, and would never let people joke about those different than themselves.   Were this not true, Obama would never have been elected.

        We were kind to humans no matter their color.    Some odious boors will always be among us and make fun of the disabled as well as kick dogs.    Privilege has nothing to do with color but with the other “c” words, civility and character.    Those “privileged” people can name their ticket to success.

    • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

      There will likely always be Tree-of-Heaven, arundo, salt cedar, Himalaya blackberry and reed canarygrass in our riparian zones, so why bother with riparian restoration?  It’s a fool’s task.

      I don’t think Doni intends her proposal to be a cure-all.  It sounds a bit like a rehab boot camp, and I fear that what it would take to make it noticeably effective is probably illegal:  Check in, or get run out of town on a rail.  

      As for being a “nationally known hand-out city,” I hear local conservatives making this claim on something close to a daily basis, and I’ve never seen the tiniest speck of substantiation.  When I ask for substantiation it always falls on deaf ears, so I’m not even going to bother this time.

      I have an alternative hypothesis to the hand-out city hypothesis: I think Redding’s topography makes it especially attractive.  All of our greenbelts and open spaces in close proximity to our downtown make for prime camp locations.  Close to parks, the library, grocery and convenience stores, fast food, etc.  A rigorously enforced zero-tolerance policy for camping in greenbelts and other open spaces, paired with a designated homeless camp (including services described by Doni) at Stillwater or elsewhere—that’s the ticket, in my opinion.

      Without rigorous enforcement of a no-camping ordinance, all proposals are doomed to fail.

    • Greg Greenberg Greg Greenberg says:

      This is one of the myths of homelessness that they “choose this lifestyle”.  It’s easier to dismiss the plight of a group of people as a choice than to address the problem.

      Given the choice, I would have to say that a vast majority of the homeless would prefer housing, stable source of food, sobriety, and mental health treatment.

      I regularly work with the homeless and I don’t think that I have ever heard one tell me that they are “living the dream”.

      • Avatar Dick says:

        Maybe not “living the dream”, but are they willing to live within the constraints of an organized camp? My impression, supported by the disastrous results of Redding (Caldwell Park) and Chico (Plaza) kind efforts to provide restroom facilities, various media interviews, and the state of their own self-managed camps is that most are not.


        • Avatar Tom says:

          I don’t know about most, Dick, but certainly a few bad apples can spoil the whole damn bunch, huh? It would be difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff, to use a second metaphor unapologetically, but any endeavor like this, if it is to succeed, will have to.

  13. James Montgomery James Montgomery says:

    Great idea, Doni. I live downtown, and have gradually come to believe that the primary homeless service that should be offered is employment. We are already spending the money, we just get nothing for it except trash in the streets and creeks, and drug-dependent people hanging around. Our current hand-out welfare system is a disaster, but that does not mean we should not help our brothers and sisters.
    Hand-outs only create dependency in the receivers and empty pockets for the givers. Employment of almost any kind benefits the community AND the workers, both financially and psychologically.

    • I totally agree with you about handouts, James. Not only are handouts not helping, in some cases, they’re actually hurting people who need the most help.

      Mike Mojarro of Living Hope Ministries introduced me to a powerful book a few years ago on this subject called Toxic Charity: How Churches and Charities Hurt Those They Help (And How to Reverse it), by Robert D. Lupton.

      I think this book should be required reading for anyone who truly wants to help people.

      And you’re right; offering employment would be one of the truly helpful things we can do.


      • Mistress of the Mix Mistress of the Mix says:

        Have I ever thanked you for sharing this book with me Doni?  I reference it often! Let me know if you’d like your copy back to read again or loan to someone.

      • Avatar Marilyn Traugott says:

        Brilliant article, Doni. Well thought out. I agree that the book, Toxic Charity… should be required reading and I have given out countless copies. To maximize successful outcomes, “beneficiaries” MUST be included in the process to the extent they can participate.

  14. Avatar Gary Ault says:

    Its a good idea….but who is gonna pay for it?

  15. My dear friend Randy,

    I hear what you’re saying, and we probably agree about more than we disagree.

    You’re correct that it’s not a crime to be poor. However, it is a crime to steal shopping carts and camp uninvited on private property.

    Also, society is mandated to take action to protect those who are a danger to themselves or others. I submit that the paranoid schizophrenic woman who walks with bags in triple-digit temperatures and carries a switchblade might fit in both categories.

    One thing I didn’t mention (this column was already too long), is that we need a humane, safe place to care for the severely mentally ill, those souls we see spinning in circles in the middle of the street, yelling at the sky, people who may never be productive members of society, but who need protection and shelter. That’s a whole other column.

    Regarding your question of what to do about those who don’t wish to to participate, I mentioned above the suggestion of handouts of sack lunches and one-way bus tickets to the city of their choice.

    I don’t have all the answers, Randy, but I do know that doing nothing is unacceptable. I’m tired of complaining and worrying and wondering how much longer I can stand this city.

    I’m not saying I have the golden bullet, the one-and-only solution. I’m starting a dialogue that I hope will give birth to other dialogues until we finally come up with some real, workable answers.





  16. Avatar Connie Koch says:

    Once again, you have written another great article with a lot of thought, insight and what I want to call hope for the future of Redding.  Wouldn’t it be something, if this came to be and not only were there gardens and live stock, etc. but classes that taught how to can, bake, sew, make jewelry, wood working, landscaping, butcher, etc. for items to be sold in a Stillwater store that would help fund the Stillwater community.  Who wouldn’t want to support something like this by purchasing organic or handmade products?  The possibilities are limitless, such as a farmers market where they charge other merchants space rental which would go into the account for operating expenses, etc.  A thrift store, where they could not only get the clothing they need, but also sell items to help fund their little community.  As, I mentioned in a reply to one of your previous articles, if all of the core needs (medical, food, shelter, showers, laundry, schooling, jobs that they can do to be productive, etc.) this could work and it could set an example of how our beautiful city of Redding finally dealt with the issue of homelessness and mental health in a humane and caring way.  I envision this place as a model for other towns and cities.  It would be a little city within a city.

    I am in agreement with you Doni, that the other non-profits, the city leaders and others need to realize it is time to get on board with a project like this.  It is time to stop the wasteful spending on empty land and put it to good use and at the same time, resolving the homeless, mental health and transient problems, help get our beautiful city cleaned up while helping those that need it to get back on their feet and become contributing citizens of our community.


    • Bravo! Absolutely!

      I love everything you said, Connie, but I am especially excited about the thought of this little city within a city, and your mention of classes for all kinds of things …. not just for the people who live there, but for us, who live elsewhere?

      Yes! I would love to shop there for local items, grown and made on the premises. Can’t you imagine that there are talented people in our community with time on their hands who would also like to feel productive, and could share their talents (sewing, canning, woodworking, on and on and on) with the people at this little city within the city?

      What I like about your concept is that we aren’t just shutting the “problem people” away, out of sight, but we are creating an interactive place where the residents can feel the pride of productivity and purpose, and see with their own eyes – and paychecks – the value of what they do.

      It also helps re-establish community ties and connections with a population that may have felt not just forgotten, but shunned.

      I love the way you think, Connie!


      • Avatar Connie Koch says:

        I just had this thought, someone had mentioned utilizing that for high tech or aviation.  What if this little community became so successful, that they were producing so many items that they needed to start an on line business and started shipping their products all over the US?  (cough, a mini Amazon! LOL)  They might even need their own little UPS or FedEX store to do the shipping!!!  Like I said, there are so many possibilities.  The classes could also teach about computers and social media marketing, etc.  And as you mentioned, there are a lot of talented and skilled people in our community with I am sure a lot of time on their hands!

        The problem, as I see it, is how in the world do we get our city officials and all of the non-profits on board with this idea.  I think, what would be needed, is some powerful influence, someone or some large corporate sponsor (Bill Gates, Amazon, etc.) that would be willing to be involved, whether it be a large donation, some professional advice and guidance, etc. Someone who is willing to take the bull by the horns and help see it through to completion.

        An Amazon distribution center on the same grounds that could brag that all of their employees at this location were part of their sponsored rehabilitation community of Stillwater!  Pipe dream or not?

        • Oh my gosh, Connie! You’re an idea machine! I love it!

        • Avatar Connie Koch says:

          Ok, so I just got off the phone with Amazon!  🙂  They have a couple of options – one is their Sponsorship & Donation Program – ideas and requests email to:  sponsorships@amazon.com

          The other is their Business Proposal with a detailed letter of the ideas, etc. can be mailed to:

          Amazon Business Proposal, P.O. Box 81226, Seattle, WA 98108

          Perhaps one of our more professional city leaders, or someone in the community can reach out to them and see if there is any interest!


          • Avatar Connie Koch says:

            And for Microsoft a letter would need to be faxed to:

            Microsoft Corporate Sponsorship – Fax # 425-936-7329

            I mean really, it is worth a try – I can see one of the following names:

            Stillwater sponsored by Amazon

            Stillwater sponsored by Microsoft


            Amazon’s Stillwater Distribution Community

            Microsoft’s Stillwater Distribution Community


  17. Avatar Russell K. Hunt says:

    Right idea, wrong place. Stillwater is a boondoggle but   should be directed to aviation businesses like air cargo and maintenance . The site at Metz Rd. (40 acres) near the Clear Creek Sewer Plant  has two old houses owned by the City that  could serve as homeless headquarters. Of course this needs to be run by a non-profit. And the Mission needs to be moved there as well as it is the magnet that draws the homeless downtown.

    • What I envisioned needs more room than just two old houses.

      But I agree with you about relocating the the mission.

    • Avatar Common Sense says:

      Russell , that is a much better space for the idea…..let us use the Still Waiting Business Park for generation of jobs and money….not a hole that money is poured into!

  18. Avatar Lynn says:

    This is the most comprehensive thoughtfully possible solution to this growing issue Redding enduring. Thankyou and bless your heart for caring enough to articulate those possibilities, Doni. When our mental health and social services professionals go thru the motions serving those souls in need, I wonder where their thoughts are regarding this kind of rehabilitative solution you describe? I also have, in the last few years been an observant, and participant in the situation here of folks suffering the effects of mental illness and homelessness. It is scary and has brought me to tears of sadness and frustration. I recently saw a building being finally completed and occupied by a Mental Health Services company on Oregon St. Not sure what their mission or business model is, but hoping it’s a good sign of more help, for those who need it. I applaud you for continuing the conversation and pray it brings more ears, hearts and action to revive our community! Mahalo, Doni

    • Thank you, Lynn.

      I can relate to your comment about feeling afraid, and being moved to tears of sadness and frustration. Often, these feelings overcome me while I’m at a stop light, taking in the views around me of people who look like refugees, suffering the effects of addiction, homelessness, poverty and mental illness.


  19. I love the creativity and always appreciate a bold suggestion! However, I think there are some very hefty barriers to this idea that may be worth discussing.

    1. When something is built at Stillwater Park, there should be concern about whether or not a new project will trigger prevailing wage requirements. The park was made shovel-ready with the help of taxpayers, not by future developers paying impact fees. Does this create a condition where land or infrastructure would be purchased for less than fair market value? If so, future projects will likely need to be built with prevailing wage, which should cause many developers and operators of non-profit entities to run for the hills. It’s not just about initial construction costs, either. Prevailing wage applies to new carpeting, replacing windows, and any other future tenant improvements. I think you would need a special pencil in order to complete the P&L in this case.

    2. For homeless and social services programs to be successful, they need to be co-located in an area near a jail and a hospital. A jail is a necessary motivator to ensure accountability and participation in rehabilitative programs. Also, a closer location to downtown would help those have court dates or other responsibilities. A hospital is required to help in situations when a public health facility is not enough.

    3. There are two options on how the majority of services can be funded. Either there is a non-profit that receives government payments and supplements that revenue with fundraising efforts, or the entire operation would be a government service. As we already know, the city does not administer social services, so that budget is out. The county administers a budget that is heavily controlled by the state. In fact, I think the Board of Supervisors only has the discretion to spend less than 10% of the budget on projects they wish to implement. So, in other words, I think you would need a revolution in thought at both the state and federal level to determine how you would get funding out of MediCal, social security/disability, etc.

    4. Why Stillwater? Stillwater is a popular headline and a very unpopular project. Had I been in the public arena at the time I would have been asking some pretty salty questions to some of the people leading the effort before it was finalized. But we have the park now and the debt obligation will only change if we declare bankruptcy. If we decide to sell the park off immediately, at bargain basement pricing, we would eliminate any chance we have to recoup costs and would be upside down and still be required to pay back $40M+. Stillwater is still one of three California Certified Sites, which has substantial meaning to at least some site selectors. To be crass, I view the park as a 40 year-old virgin. Sure, we’ve turned away opportunities and have been squares in the economic development area for years, but because we’ve spent years and ungodly amounts to appear attractive, we might as well wait to land someone really special. If our economy improves with the revitalization of downtown, or perhaps a corporatization of the marijuana industry in the future – imagine Big Weed (like Phillip Morris) at Stillwater – I think the park will eventually find a fit. Even if it doesn’t, we still owe the money. It’s just reality.


    • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

      Damn, Rocky.  What a buzz kill.

      Speaking of Big Weed, American Green, Inc.—founded by my brother-in-law—just purchased the entire town of Nipton, CA..  120 acres for $5 million.  Here’s an interesting (pre-sale) profile of Nipton.


      • Avatar Tim says:

        Still think $50k/acre for undeveloped land is a good deal?

        • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

          You apparently don’t know where Nipton is located or what kind of infrastructure is available there (very little).  It’s not a good comparable.

      • Avatar Common Sense says:

        Need BIG sign for all those travelers to Vegas!…..Lol…..Big Arrow…..it might work! They will need to make it a true destination resort town….bud and breakfast…..

    • Avatar Tim says:

      If our economy hasn’t improved enough 8 years into a bull market, it’s never going to.

      • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

        California has recovered nicely, but not conservative California.  You would think that local voters would re-examine some of their base assumptions……wait, scratch that……no you wouldn’t.

        • Avatar Common Sense says:

          LOL Steve Towers…. I know right….and if Jimmy is reading this…yes these are Elipses….

          What’s it going to take to open up some Minds downtown?….Bankruptcy 4-5 years down the road when the unfunded liabilities and all the other expenses are more than the Revenues coming in??//// God Forbid jobs and tax money from that filthy plant that I have not researched or learned about! But continue to watch my Reefer Madness VHS every Friday night!

          Some simple concepts for those challenged and deep in their Cognitive Dissonance…

          A YES node = jobs and money….

          A NO node = No grants from the State for any of the above ideas to help….and None of those Billions the state is sharing with the cities and counties that said yes! Not to mention the “Local” tax money on top.


        • Avatar Tom says:

          As far as I’m concerned, Steve, you can’t make that point enough. There’s a reason the first eight letters of “progressive” are progress …

  20. Avatar conservative says:

    Redding is a retail center which serves a population of over 300,000 people in five counties.   Sears closing in Chico and Kmart closing in Eureka are just the start.   As retailers go out of business in Redding, people will learn to shop online.  As mall anchor stores close, smaller retailers will fail.  Retail jobs will be lost.  Property taxes on empty retail buildings will be greatly reduced.  The  money losing empty retail buildings will be used by the owners to reduce the assesssed value.

    There is probably no better place in California to be homeless, a drug addict or mentally ill than Redding.  Redding does not have the gangs which prey on the homeless like most California cities.  Drive by shootings, gang graffiti and tough guys wearing gang colors are commonplace in cities like Eureka, Oroville, Marysville, Yuba city, Stockton, etc.  I wish more people in Redding would read the newspapers for Chico, Yuba City, Eureka, etc.   A news aggregator which covered the county seats of California would be idea.

    It would be nice if the State of California would fund Redding becoming a refuge for the homeless, a Housing First Mecca.  Not going to happen.  Gov. Brown believes in “subsidiarity” which means cities and counties will raise sales taxes and property taxes on commercial property to pay for services.

  21. Avatar conservative says:

    Redding should be a good place to retire, especially for Calpers and Calstrs annuitants.  The Bee reported the percentage of 1099s going out of state.  As the cost of living rises in Redding, as the standard of living falls, as the physician shortage worsens, those retirees will move elsewhere.  You can always come back for a trip to Whiskeytown or Lake Shasta.  I see Redding becoming a retirement community for low net worth retirees with nothing more than social security.

    • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

      I always wonder why people with your outlook aren’t already gone.  I suppose you have your reasons for staying in California.  Maybe inertia is among the foremost reasons.

  22. Avatar anon says:

    Location might be an issue. The people like having access to convenience stores for booze, cigs, lotto tickets, etc. The nearby Safeway to pilfer from. Also the needle exchange, Obamaphone kiosks. Plus there are many more people in/around downtown to get handouts from. Stillwater is kind of isolated from all of that, and no decent transportation to get to the welfare office, hospital, etc. It would only work for those who are committed to getting their lives back together, and on the right track, and lets face it – working for a living. I do not know the percentages, but there are obviously quite a few that would rather live on the streets than work a normal job.

    All in all though – it is a good idea, better than anything anyone else has proposed. And at least that industrial park would be used for something. I am not sure about what Lassen Canyon would think about these proposed developments, after they shelled out a lot of money for a parcel.

  23. Randall Smith Randall Smith says:


    Providence International has been doing all three things you propose for more than five years at two locations: Railroad Ave. and Riverland on a 15 year City lease.  Problem is no knows or cares about someone else’s isea or hard work.  You cite the multiplicity of enablers who will not label things given.  The 4000 lbs. of rubish taken from under the North Market St. Bridge last Saturday was donated or stolen.

    As for the query regarding outsiders coming to Redding, Officer Brannon and I have both interviewed people illegally camping in our open spaces.  The recent answer is people are not friendly in Florida.  How did you learn of Redding?  Everyone has a cell phone.  California provides them for free.  We are getting exacting what we are paying to enjoy, or not.

    Some of your readership might rise on a personal learning curve by visiting and obtaining first hand information at these people and sites.  After a career donated to caring for these folks from Detroit to San Francisco and Redding, I am somewhat weary of hearing that addicts, drunks, vagrants and healthy, indolent twenty five year olds are all victims of a society gone bad.  Certainly. their early programming went haywire.  And we all share the price which is rising.  Careful where you move.  Arcata and Chico are worse.

  24. Avatar Tim says:

    I like your idea Doni, especially since it includes a stick with the carrot.  But I would pitch the idea in a scaled-down form, at least during an experimental trial:

    Instead of building tiny houses, start out with tents — most of the clientele already have their own and they’re much cheaper if you do have to buy them (I think Maricopa County probably has a few available).  Have restrooms with shower facilities located every so often, just like national park campgrounds. These need not be permanent structures, in fact they’d probably be much cheaper if built on semi-trailers like disaster-relief showers.  Finally, offer secure storage containers so folks can finally ditch those volkswagen-sized shopping carts, knowing that their belongs are safe while they are out working or getting services.

    Not only would this save a ton of money up front, but it is also easily reversible (which should make it more palatable as an untested experiment).

  25. Avatar Common Sense says:

    How about using Stillwater Business Park for the intended use that it was developed for-Creating Jobs?

    How about saying Yes to what California has already approved- Prop 64.

    How about having 300/400/500+ JOBS that pay half way decent as a result….

    How about Having $5/$6/$7 Million in Tax Revenues to work with…..

    How about giving up the pre conceived notion that “Best Fit” is something other than what my preacher said.

    How about moving forward in consciousness and “Growing”……Literally….and Figuratively!

    How about those Government Grants that will be available from the State by saying YES instead of No Grants at ALL…by saying no…..Government sharing some of that prop 64 tax revenue with those that said yes!

    Anyone else have an Idea to create jobs and tax revenues with this Magnitude?….anyone……it’s quiet out there…..hello……jobs……millions in tax money….the kids won’t die….the town won’t be swallowed up…..it won’t get worse…people will actually be working again….

    Imagine that……

  26. Avatar trek says:

    Headline: Warren Buffett Nears a Milestone He Doesn’t Want: $100 Billion in Cash

    Seeing as he know doubt made billions of dollars since President Trump took office Mr. Buffett may want to unload some of that Trump made cash to help with the homeless situation…..

    • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

      Trump-made cash?  Child, please.

      • Avatar trek says:

        It only cost 1 stamp to ask, 2 stamps if you were to write the letter.


      • Avatar Tom says:

        Not exactly “Trump-made” cash, but the stock market continues to hit record highs under the Trump presidency (a trend that started under the Obama one, btw) and there is no better indicator of the rich getting richer than a record high stock market.

        There’s plenty of money to tap out there to help out all these situations. We just have to have the balls to tap it.

        • Avatar trek says:

          Just read an article that stated Buffett himself has made over 11 billion since Trump has taken office. I’m sure there are plenty of other articles that may dispute these findings. One may not like him as POTUS but most investment portfolios sure do.

          • Avatar Tom says:

            A quick Google search tells me that he made over $12 billion last year, too. I’m not disputing the stock market is on the rise, but I’m disputing it is solely a Trump-bump. We’re in an upward spiral that started a few years ago.

            When our next recession hits I won’t call it a Trump recession, either. This is just the cycle.

            My only problem with the stock market is that it is an indication, as I said, of the rich getting richer more than anything. The growth of money at the top is fantastic and all, but it doesn’t do much to solve the problems like the one’s Doni is addressing. If we could tap that money through, say, a sensible progressive tax, and then utilize that money for solutions to the problems we face here at the bottom, the stock market — and Buffet’s success story — would mean a lot more to me.

          • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

            Over half of Americans own stock in America’s businesses, but 92% of the stock  is owned by just 20% of the citizens, and 32% of the stock is owned by the wealthiest 1%.  The ongoing bull market (which has nothing to do with Trump—it’s been booming full-tilt for years) is just more of the same—wealth being accumulated by the wealthiest, while the majority of Americans lose ground.

          • Avatar Tim says:

            The reason the average American isn’t rich is because he spends like he is.

            We live in a society that prefers having cable tv to retiring with an extra $100,000+ (75% of households have cable or satellite TV with an average monthly bill of $103.  $100/month invested in an S&P index fund for 30 years yields $130,000).  The same goes for buying/leasing new cars every few years, consuming brand-name goods, etc.

            Become wealthy is incredibly simple: spend less than you earn and save the rest.  You don’t need to be a CEO or even a doctor/lawyer/engineer — heck, the average California teacher retires with a pension worth $900,000.

    • Avatar Tim says:

      My, how readily some folks spent other people’s money!  Incidentally, that $100B belongs to the shareholders of Berkshire Hathaway, not Buffett (though Buffett is the largest shareholder).

      Once upon a time Berkshire shareholders would vote on charities to support, but that practice ended because invariably some activist group would disrupt business in protest of which charity was/was not picked.

    • Avatar cheyenne says:

      In the Arizona Republic was an article on how Buffett and other million/billionaires are investing in Arizona because of favorable Trump reactions.

  27. Randall Smith Randall Smith says:

    This has been shared previously, but evidently needs repeating.  I have interviewed many illegal campers.  The question “Why are you here?” is often answered, “We are free people.  If we go to Good News or other shelter, there are rules: no guns, no dogs, no swearing, no fires, no drugs, no alcohol, no smoking, no talking after 10p and we have to help with chores and take a shower once a week.  Here we are free with no one telling us what to do.”  That sense of freedom does not fit well with Camp Stillwater.  People really need to get involved with this problem.  Armchair quarterbacking is probably no more effective than the alphabet soup of  agencies and organizations already offering “help”.

    • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

      “People really need to get involved with this problem.”

      And do what?  A good half of the citizenry seem to think that some form of authoritarianism is the only solution—something akin to hazing.  The homeless camp illegally, but citizens aren’t allowed to remove them by force or persuade them to leave using forms of coercion—goon squads are illegal.  Some well-meaning folks, including elected officials, tried to pass a modest tax increase to fund public safety—which would have allowed Redding to build and staff facilities, fund programs, and hire more cops—but that cratered.  The County seems to be taking the position that it’s none of their concern or responsibility.

      People claim this problem is everywhere, but I recently spent four days in the Oregon cities of Medford, Ashland, and Jacksonville, and I didn’t see anything approximating what’s going on in downtown Redding.  Not even close, and not even in Medford (the town most like Redding, probably).  Frankly, I don’t think we have the political will to ape what’s working for others.  We are too bound up by political orthodoxies—I’ve lived here for about 25 years, and I don’t think that’s going to change, unless Bethel buys up the whole damned town.  From my perspective it looks damned near hopeless.

      • R.V. Scheide Jr. R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

        I don’t know what those Oregon towns are doing different Steve, but every day on my news feed I encounter other California cities where the homeless/criminal transient problem, based on the sheer numbers of people, is far worse than Shasta County. The latest report concerned Sacramento, where homelessness has exploded the past several years–and it was already bad there. San Francisco is a nightmare. Some of California may have “recovered nicely” since the Great Recession, but income distribution is skewed radically to the top, so those gains haven’t been shared by most of the population. Our lack of political will is easy to explain in Shasta County, where thanks to super-majority voting requirements, one-third of the electorate can kill any attempt to raise taxes to address problems. But how do you explain it for the whole state, which is solidly in the blue camp?

        • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

          I spend a lot of time in Sacramento, and it’s bad there too, but much of the street-level homelessness-related blight is concentrated in the vicinity of N 12th Ave, where Loaves and Fishes and a number of other service providers are located.  My daughter’s mid-town neighborhood, North Oak Park, looks nothing like downtown Redding.  But yeah, San Francisco is reeling.  There are so many people living on the streets in the Mission District that, during the drought, the whole district smelled like one enormous piss pot.  It probably smells that way now, and will until the rains come.

          The larger problem of income and wealth disparity in this country is where we get at the heart of the problem.  I have zero faith in America fixing that.  We seem determined to degenerate into a third-world-style nation: a small group of big winners and a teeming mob of struggling losers.  It’s a source of never-ending puzzlement to me that a majority of the losers seem content with their own demise.  They appear to agree with the über-rich that everyone gets exactly what they deserve, and if they’re getting screwed by anyone, it’s by people of their own socioeconomic cohort.

      • Avatar Tom says:

        Perhaps Oregon wasn’t as stressed in their prison systems as was California, and didn’t require a purging of the incarcerated?

        If that’s not the answer, admittedly in the form of a question, then what is? What is the political will that works to the north but not in the Golden State?

  28. A. Jacoby A. Jacoby says:

    What a creative people we are. What a healthy exchange of ideas. Let’s keep talking . . . . .

  29. Avatar Pragmatic Solutions says:

    A well-intentioned idea, but one I believe overlooks the reality of human behavior. The transient population and the chronically homeless will NOT be agreeable to staying out in Deadwater Business Park for the following reasons:

    1. Most social services are located in Redding
    2. There is a concentration of homes and businesses near downtown to steal from to fund one’s drug habit
    3. Panhandlers prefer high-traffic areas for hand-outs versus being isolated near the airport
    4. Drug dealers are unlikely to frequent an isolated area such as DeadWater to service their customers for fear of being easily monitored and arrested by law enforcement

    What we truly need are more jail beds to incarcerate repeat offenders until trial, drug court sentencing with mandatory treatment programs, and victim restitution policies that have some teeth.

    • Avatar Tim says:

      RABA already runs to the airport, so a voucher program would ensure that clients could make it to downtown service providers. If the park was a success, eventually most of those service providers would end up moving to/near Stillwater.

      The only way it works is if criminal behavior is punished — including trespassing.  Those that engage in more severe criminal behavior need to go away for an extended time out.

      It is fine with me with if someone wants to do nothing with their life, as long as that plan does not require accommodation from others.  As they say, your right to swing a fist ends at my face…

      How do we pay for it?  #1 raise the tax on alcohol in Shasta County (while otherwise a high tax state, California has among the lowest alcohol taxes in the nation).  #2 tax and regulate the sale of Marijuana.

  30. Randall Smith Randall Smith says:

    Probably right about Medford.  Their no cash out the window to cardboard sign holders ordinance was successful in less than a month two years ago.  $375. ticket to the driver. They all came to Redding.  There is a positive recent change in Redding  to enforce largely ignored ordinances against camping, littering and alcohol in public places.

    But Redding is suffering and there is much the community could do rather than complain and endlessly write the same drivel. 1) Support only proven places like GNRM and Providence.  2) Join and work with Shasta Support Service. 3) use public places in numbers and deny illegal occupation by reporting it promptly.  4) Work with those recovering public places, improving access, sight lines and litter abatement 5) Stop taking clothing, food, blankets, money and other camping supplies to those who refuse labeling items handed out. 6) Support public officials who believe ordinances require enforcement. 7) Lock home doors and windows.  8)Lock and leave nothing of value in your car.  9)Buy and install a home security system.  10) Get and stay active in a neighborhood watch or protective association.  11) “See something, say something.”

  31. Avatar Dan says:

    A number of communities have had success with “homeless”. The Stanford Campus is adjacent the VA hospital to the west and the VA Mental hospital to the NorthWest (where the movie “One flew over the Cookoo’s nest” was filmed.) . With a regional ER, locked Psych ward, Psych hospital, there is a wealth of experience and expertise to tap there. #1 here is a NO CAMPING ordinance that is enforced by the SHERIFF IMMEDIATELY. No exceptions. #2 No drug dealing allowed whatsoever (therefore addicts are not attracted to stay on campus). #3 The “Homeless” or mentally ill that are found wandering the campus are 51/50 ed almost immediately and brought to the ER for “observation” for 24 -72 hours. They are given a Medical check-up, fed, bathed, psych eval., and medications if needed in 4 point restraints if necessary. They can then be sent to long term facilities if needed or released off campus if warranted. All costs for indigent patients are billed to Medicaid and the Federal government. An army of medical billers figures how to get those costs reimbursed to the University.

  32. Avatar Bob Ferrari says:

    I’m sorry but, in my opinion, your homeless utopia in the Stillwater ignores some basic characteristics of many street people – such as them even caring about your plan. It would be a good way to attract more transients though.

    I was a hippie – the real deal – I spent three years hitching around. I shot heroin, took 500 hits of acid at a time… If you got caught hitchhiking in Wyoming you’d get beat up, put in jail over night, had your head shaved, set on the road the next morning, and were told not to hitchhike around there again. You were allowed to walk to the state border. I can assure you – that was a deterrent to passing through Wyoming, or parts of Kansas, or Texas, or Louisiana… If you tried riding trains the bulls needed to be avoided but they were easier to outrun. I was held over the upper balcony at the Lahaina jail on Maui by two Samoan cops, told I was a lying sack of shit, and that they would drop me if I didn’t shut up. I, um, was certainly less vocal after that. And, now, I have great stories.

    Did you know that sitting around doing drugs and going out to steal stuff at night acts as a family life for some people? A lot of people love their addictions. They provide a context, familiarity, and purpose for living. Rehab is a good way to ratchets the need back down when it becomes too painful to continue. Some do get out of the cycle. I did. A few friends did. And some of the street people will, if they want to.

    I think the longest I’ve gone without bathing is 3 weeks – yeah. Ripe has new meaning. But it was winter. I’m a dirt person at heart. Bathing simply sucks time away when you could be doing other things. We had a thing at one time where washing jeans was taboo. You’d wear them until they rotted off in a year or so. I don’t remember where that fad came from. I think it was the 1 percenter outlaw bikers in the 60’s. Of course, the woman in my life put an end to those habits in seconds. I ate out of garbage cans for a whole summer once and we used to sneak into the cafeteria in Yosemite and eat peoples left overs when they got up to leave. It was awkward when they were only going to use the restroom…

    My wife and I hitchhiked into Redding when she was 5 months pregnant and she needed to see a doctor. It was 26% unemployment here and I had zero job training. I’d been kicked out of one high school. Do you know how easy it is to live just wandering around? It takes the least amount of effort possible. Do you really think living in a little house with a community garden and the requirement to work with other untrustworthy people around you  is what people are wishing for? You don’t live on the street without reasonably well developed anti-social skills. When you have those skills you don’t necessarily want to live around a bunch of other people and be told what to do.

    People talk about how horrible it is for these people to be stuck outside in the heat, out of the AC. My guys (employees) are working on roofs in the heat. Imagine how uncomfortable that is. They would like to sit in the shade instead. They support their families and it’s hard work. My family (wife and kids) never had a house or a car with AC for 25 of the 44 years we’ve lived here – even now we only have a fancy swamp cooler. Sometimes it’s uncomfortable. Sometimes life is uncomfortable and people deal with it all the time.

    One of my friends lives in the homeless camps. He’s had a string of jobs over the years (18) but going on a drinking or drug binge always loses them. The binges have cost me two bicycles and nearly a truck. He’s my friend and I care about him and wish the best for him – but I never give him anything, not even when he calls and says he is starving or needs shelter. I’ve always liked AA telling drunks who fall back into drinking  to drink more and to come back when they’ve actually hit bottom.

    There are people who ended up on the street through circumstances they couldn’t control or because of mental health issues.  They need help. However many of the ones you see around town are there by lifestyle. My truck window was smashed and my belongings stolen at a trailhead here 3 weeks ago. My sons car was broken into and he came out to a woman passed out on the seat. She said she didn’t care if the cops were called because she’d be out in an hour. Bicycles are taken all the time. Let’s patch up Crystal Creek and put offenders to work creating more and better trails around here – even if it’s only for two weeks at a time. They can grow a garden there.

    You, who are compassionate and caring, are appalled when you see someone stinky and dirty and emaciated, and it’s good to notice them, to “see” them. But thinking they want the same things you want and therefore will respond to what you offer so they can be more like you is simplistic. It can even be manipulative. Saying they have no place to poop and so shouldn’t be blamed for going outside – like on a business’ doorway? Having sex in public isn’t done because there is no place private. It’s done because you feel like having sex and don’t really care what anyone thinks. Sheeesh! You must not have ever done that or you’d know. ;’) Peoples Park in Berkeley has been that way for decades.

    Few of the people on the street are victims, not all, but, at least most of the ones I’ve interacted with. I’ve had a few friends with mental health problems who had a hard time without a mental hospital to get to periodically. In fact, I was declared unemployable by reason of mental health at one time. I guess that’s why I’ve had to run my own business most of my adult life. Darn, I could’ve been on welfare all this time.

    We do need to notice the people. We can treat people with dignity. We don’t need to be judgmental – but we don’t need to tolerate certain behaviors either.  I don’t think we need to offer land and a garden. If you are going to give Stillwater away let’s make smaller parcels and give it to the small business men and women who employ hundreds of working people in our community. These are the people who take the risks and try to make good life happen. Get us small buildings we can own, hire business coaches to help us become great businesses. We’ll pay good wages which will help to stabilize families, give children more opportunities, fund infrastructure improvements, and make our community even better than it already is. This will attract more excellent families and make this community both desirable and healthy.


    • Avatar cheyenne says:

      Bob, perhaps you could give an example of Wyoming cops, or any other state, beating you and throwing you in jail.  I hitchhiked all over the Rockies states from the fifties on and the only time I spent in jail was when I knocked on the jail door and they not only put me up for the night but fed me.  And they never put me in general population.

      • Avatar Bob Ferrari says:

        1968 and 69 Wyoming, Casper and Laramie were the places with the shears. You could get through, though, without being hassled. IDK what the criteria were for denuding long hairs. In Salina Ks. a cop pulled up behind me and told me to just keep walking over his megaphone. I wasn’t even hitchhiking yet. I lived in east Texas on the border of Louisiana in 1971  – we had our house (a commune) shot at and the police, in their mirror sunglasses and lack of a smile, thought of hippies – “hangins’ too good for ’em,” their words. The attitudes and predjudices in Kilgore Texas were mind boggling to a naive kid from the SF bay area. But, once you were escorted out of a church for sitting in the wrong person’s pew it was not worth going back for those faith based transformers. I got me a great Texas girl out there though – still have her. But  my hitchhiking experiences, which deteriorated in the last years of the 60s, have included a knife at the throat, a gun in the eye, and various little robbery attempts. They also included many acts of kindness and generosity as well. One of them, a man named Peter who picked us up in north Washington, truly gave me a new view of myself. I wish I knew who he was so I could thank him. We were met in Redding with a great deal of kindness too, not counting certain rednecks in Anderson…


    • R.V. Scheide Jr. R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

      The fact that you got out of the transient life basically disproves your whole point, that most people don’t want to get out of the transient life. You use all these anecdotal stories to justify this point, but your strongest anecdote, your own story, belies this.

      • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

        In defense of Bob, a very similar anecdote:  I was a stoner and a bored, unmotivated college student, on the fence about finishing college and often leaning toward moving to a mountain town in Colorado where I would hammer nails in the summer and teach ski school in the winter for a living.  I wasn’t just farting around with the idea—I took a year off and did a test drive.  I had to be talked back into resuming college, but I was still floundering and doing poorly as a student.

        Then, suddenly, a baby was on the way.  Seven years later I was collecting my doctorate degree—I blasted through my Ph.D. program at UC Davis in five years, three years ahead of the normative time.

        It took that baby for me to get my mind right.  It happens.  If it hadn’t, I might be an aging ski bum (or just an aging bum) today.

      • Avatar Bob Ferrari says:

        Once you are in the transient life, especially with substance abuse, the inertia is difficult to overcome. In general, it requires an outside force to get it moving in some sort of direction, and, once moving, it can be steered. I got out of it at a young age. It’s a whole lot easier when you are young. Perhaps a focus on 18 to 22 year olds, with children, for rehab would narrow it down a bit and bring some successes. I also was a good and voracious reader. That gave me resources, insights, and wisdom beyond my circumstances. I have difficulty hiring people, even some college grads, who have good reading skills.  I also had no trouble heading across the country with no resources. Kids I grew up with, who stayed in the hometown, got themselves locked into the addiction cycle which I was able to escape. They wanted to get out of the lifestyle – meaning they didn’t like the consequences of their lifestyle – but not enough to actually change it. The ones who have survived since those days carry a heck of a lot of baggage, as do their children and grandchildren, at least compared to mine. Once you truly want something different the possibilities open up, and I found gracious people who helped me. I mean really, if someone wants out of the transient life what’s stopping them?

    • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

      Bob — I just read your tome above and, fascinated, went to your business website and read your bio.  I’m something of a bullshitter, so I’m wary of embellishment—but if most of what you say is true, a life well lived.  At the very least, your story is a great read.

      As I’ve said elsewhere, the ideas presented by Doni don’t work unless they’re paired with a comprehensive, rigorously enforced zero-tolerance program that bans camping in public places and greatly discourages a host of other behaviors that you describe.

      There is also this rampant oversimplification:  The people who are ruining downtown Redding are all homeless transients from elsewhere, attracted here by the bounty of services and the generosity of Reddingites, so the solution is hazing them out of town.

      Baloney.  I had an office in downtown Redding for ~7 years (until recently), and I guarantee you that the majority of these people who are a blight on downtown are homegrown.  I’m talking about the dudes riding bmx bikes around town, stoned, weaving in and out of  traffic, cigarettes dangling from their lips, Monster energy drink caps worn backwards, backpacks at the ready, canvassing cars and yards for stuff to steal.  These are Redding’s undereducated, anti-social 2nd- or 3rd-generation bottom-feeders.  The problem with them is that they don’t fear getting caught because there’s no room at the Graybar Inn for petty criminals.

    • Avatar Tom says:

      Great perspective on the conversation, Bob!

      Look, the truth is, there is no one solution to all of this. We need a combination of efforts. We need education and opportunity created for the next generation. We need to help those who want help, with ideas like Doni shared. We need enforcement and a heavy hand for those who simply feed from the bottom, have sex and do drugs in public, smash windows and do not care. We need to get services to those with addictions and mental health problems.

      The idea that Doni promoted could work, for some. It would certainly help to bring those who really want help the help they need. Like Steve said, it needs to be paired with rules and enforcement, inside and outside this camp.

      We will need money, for all of it. That’s exactly where we need to start.

      Where do we get the money to educate, enforce, provide services, and create opportunity for future generations?

  33. Avatar cheyenne says:

    North Range Business Park and Swan Lake Business Park, only six years old, in Cheyenne are expanding and drawing businesses from California.  The over riding reason is no restrictions on employee demands on public owned properties.  This infuriates the employee advocates but jobs trump, pun intended, no jobs.  This applies to other public funds used in other purposes.  Affordable housing using public funds has to pay higher wages but some affordable housing trumps no affordable housing.  Look at the battle over Turtle Bay Hotel that cost more in legal fees than construction costs.  Liberal areas like SF can get away with riding the high horse but conservative areas can’t.

  34. Avatar Beverly Stafford says:

    My head is spinning.  Doni’s suggestion of how to use of Stillbirth sounded great – Utopian even.  Then Rocky Slaughter threw up all the hurdles as to why it wouldn’t work, and my feeling was that this kind of thinking is why we are at a stalemate.  Lots of barriers but no suggestions for change.  Then Bob Ferrari states at length that most of “these people” want to be “free” at our expanse; so Doni’s utopia couldn’t possibly work.  So here we are, 87 post later – and counting – right back where we were.

  35. Avatar cheyenne says:

    LEADS, is a Cheyenne based group started over twenty years ago to promote Cheyenne.  It does take suggestions and follows up on promising ones.  I see a lot of suggestions posted here that if it were Cheyenne they would go to LEADS.  Doesn’t Redding have a LEADS type organization there?  LEADS brought a Microsoft data center to Cheyenne which gave Cheyenne a vision of tech companies.  LEADS brought Magpul Ammo and their suppliers to Cheyenne beating out Texas.  LEADS has brought many companies to fill in the Cheyenne business parks.  I have talked to the manager at LEADS and they told me they take all business hints serious as many pan out.  As indicated by the posters on here Redding has resident ideas that need to be searched by a Redding or Shasta County organization like LEADS.  While LEADS works with the cities and county it is independent of them.  No politicians need apply.

    I also see how many posters on here say someone should do something.  Why not the poster?


  36. Avatar Joanne Lobeski Snyder says:

    You have been covering this issue for years.  I think what I love most about your article is that, of course you published a lot of article and did a lot of research because you’re an extraordinary journalist, but you came up with a monster plan that would work.  In all of these years of research you have looked at this problem from so many angles and took those perspectives  into consideration before putting this plan out there for the world.

    One thing stands out to me in your article.  If I can’t figure out the maze of help available to people in Shasta County, who could?   We gave cards listing resources and phone numbers to all of our students at an alternative education high school in this are, but I wouldn’t have wanted to waded through phone systems and bureaucracy to get help.  Today.

    Extraordinary article Doni.

    Tell me how I can help.


    • Joanne, thanks for the nice comment. Bless your heart for asking how you could help. I wish I knew.

      • Actually, I take that back about how to help. Read up a ways to Randy Smith’s suggestions:

         1) Support only proven places like GNRM and Providence.  2) Join and work with Shasta Support Service. 3) use public places in numbers and deny illegal occupation by reporting it promptly.  4) Work with those recovering public places, improving access, sight lines and litter abatement 5) Stop taking clothing, food, blankets, money and other camping supplies to those who refuse labeling items handed out. 6) Support public officials who believe ordinances require enforcement. 7) Lock home doors and windows.  8)Lock and leave nothing of value in your car.  9)Buy and install a home security system.  10) Get and stay active in a neighborhood watch or protective association.  11) “See something, say something.”

        • Avatar trek says:

          Reads almost like 100% of your life is trying to stay safe in what one does and where one resides. I moved away (out of state) for better, greener pastures and I rarely if ever lock my doors unless traveling. My little town almost the same size as Redding is far from perfect but the stress level of trying to protect one’s property is almost none existent. I’d really like to know what makes Redding such a great place to live? If the answer starts by saying, “this is my home, I’ve grown up and live here” you may want to check out other towns, cities if your not afraid of leaving your residence. You may be surprised as to what you find if looking with an open mind.

          • For me, much of Redding’s appeal is what lies outside the hub: Whiskeytown,  Shasta Lake, Lassen Peak, Mt. Shasta, Dunsmuir, etc.

            In the city itself, I can pretty much count on one hand its best features: the Sundial Bridge, Turtle Bay, the trails, Cascade Theatre and my favorite local restaurants and businesses.

            Not downtown, that’s for sure.

          • Avatar trek says:

            Interesting, if not for your close family would you feel the same?

        • Avatar Richard Christoph says:

          And, folks can patronize one of Redding’s many locally-owned Downtown businesses, and/or  become involved with the City’s Adopt-A-Block program.


  37. Avatar conservative says:

    Stillwater is not competitive as a manufacturing site because it is in California.

    Stillwater cannot compete with Sacramento for distribution centers.  Amazon has ten distribution centers in CA.  The one in Sacramento is centrally located, near I-80 and I-5, the rail lines in the I-80 corridor and three hours from the container port of Oakland.

    There is very little population North, East and West of Redding.   Distribution and fulfilment centers in the centrally located Sacramento can economically serve that population.  The U.S. postal service mail sorting in Sacramento instead of Redding works for the same reason.  The WSJ is printed in Sac and trucked to Redding.

    Many people believe the Sheraton at Turtle Bay will not succeed because convention will mean a 3 hour trip on I-5 from Sac and the Bay area.  People who love houseboating will endure the 3 hour trip to Lake Shasta.  Going North on 101 or 1 iare better choices for convention and recreation travel.  The Sheraton at Turtle Bay could wind up losing money like the Sheraton in Phoenix, which wound up owned by the city and has cost the city millions.

    Ray Kroc, founder of McDonalds famously said something like “McDonalds is in the real estate business”  The wrong location makes a business unable to compete.

    • Avatar Common Sense says:

      Some of the largest distribution centers that considered California sit in Nevada! California has run off SO many opportunities for Business and jobs! Similar attitude downtown….we don’t want anything that is not a “good fit”…….say good bye to tax money and jobs…..it doesn’t fit some preconceived utopian vision of what is right….

      Let’s look at least one positive though…..Tehama County….they did land Walmart Distribution….but that’s not Shasta County!

    • Avatar Tim says:

      Stillwater would sell itself if it were in the State of Jefferson instead of another dying town in conservative California.  Homegrown manufacturers like Skyway and The Cartridge Family would still be here too.

      Unfortunately, too many here are living in Cowslip’s warren, certain that the fact California throws us scraps of food now and again means Sacramento has only our best interests in mind.

  38. Avatar conservative says:

    Yesterday’s WSJ had an article.  400 of America’s 1100 malls are predicted to close.  Many will become distribution centers.  A distribution center in Chico or Red Bluff could serve Chico, Redding and Northern CA better than Stillwater.  The ChicoER hasn’t said what will become of the closed Sears.  If enough stores close in that mall, a distribution center could happen.  Many distribution centers serve several different stores.  For example, something from Bed Bath and Beyond could be shipped from a fulfilment center with an entirely different name.

  39. Avatar Dan says:

    Perhaps this has been addressed to death, but the “Utah Solutions” of faith and Tiny home Housing first successes have been debunked in the Utah mainstream press.  If you can’t get your Utopia accomplished in diversity free Salt Lake City with the Morman Church’s backing, I don’t see it happening in Redding. This article was shared on the Take Back Redding group last night. An interesting read and highlights something I have seen first hand. “Homelessness” is a nebulous term for a multitude of different issues.  Simply throwing a random group of “Homeless” people together with food, bathrooms, and shelter and hoping they will sing Kumbaya around the campfire is unrealistic.  http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865686230/I-didnt-feel-safe-Mayor-Ben-McAdams-describes-secret-nights-on-street-in-shelter.html


    • Avatar Tom says:

      I’ve looked into the Utah experiment a bit myself and found there has been a good deal of success dealing with the chronic homeless there. Did it solve all the problems with homelessness? No. But I don’t think Doni is proposing a one-size-fits-all solution, just a solution for those truly seeking it.

    • Avatar Bob says:

      The article you cite is regarding a specific shelter.  It does not in any way negate the effectiveness of Utah’s general approach to homelessness.  Housing First and Rapid Rehousing are proven and effective strategies in many places in our country.  HUD recognizes this and slants its funding in accord with strategies that have a proven and effective record.

  40. Frank Treadway Frank Treadway says:

    Kudos to you Doni for your futuristic and creative thoughts.  Even if those local officials who call the shots for Stillwater utilized 100 of the 700 acres for a concept you describe, it would be a major step in getting street folks off the streets.  All of the naysayers who say, ‘Yeah, but ‘! can be worked out. There’s a solution for every, ‘You can’t do this, because of that’.  Getting the cost of tiny houses down is key, training/education/health programs are essential.  Even if the City moves 25% of the current street people to a concept of this nature, we’d see a dramatic turn around in how we and others see Redding.  I too have lived here since 1945 and I know Redding/Shasta County leaders are capable of coming up with a plan to make this happen.  Why there’d even be room left a UC Campus !

  41. Avatar Richard Christoph says:

    Royal Burnett wrote an interesting R-S “Speak Your Piece” two years ago that he re-posted as the 307th comment on Doni’s previous story of Aug. 1st.  I’d hoped that he  would also post it on this story, but since he hasn’t I tried unsuccessfully to copy and paste it here myself. His ideas are well worth considering and can be found at the very bottom of:



  42. Avatar janet says:

    One of the R-S columnists, Marc Beauchamp, I believe, talked about living in a neighborhood where half of the people worked, and the other half were on disability. He said that outside of working hours there didn’t seem to be a difference. The people on disability seemed to do whatever they wanted, except work. Yeah, but the person on disability I know best may be fine for a few days, then her back hurts and she can hardly move or she has migraines that keep her in bed. It would be a rare employer who could accept that. So yes, jobs would help, but not in all cases. Anyone want 2/5 or 3/5 of an employee with unpredictable absences?

    • Avatar Tim says:

      Sure.  Temp agencies thrive on at will work.  Many small businesses need a bookeeper just a few hours a week (and it doesn’t particularly matter which hours).

      The real problem is if she worked 2/5 of the time, she’d lose her disability after 9 months.  So she becomes dependent on being totally dependent…

  43. Avatar Alissa says:

    Doni, how do I get involved?

    • Bless you for asking, Alissa. Right now I think Randy Smith has the best suggestions for those of us who want to help. They are:

       1) Support only proven places like GNRM and Providence.  2) Join and work with Shasta Support Service. 3) use public places in numbers and deny illegal occupation by reporting it promptly.  4) Work with those recovering public places, improving access, sight lines and litter abatement 5) Stop taking clothing, food, blankets, money and other camping supplies to those who refuse labeling items handed out. 6) Support public officials who believe ordinances require enforcement. 7) Lock home doors and windows.  8)Lock and leave nothing of value in your car.  9)Buy and install a home security system.  10) Get and stay active in a neighborhood watch or protective association.  11) “See something, say something.”

      • Avatar Virginia says:

        This is so important what you have written as how to get involved.  You have hit all the nail on the head.  The more money offered, the longer the person will go without getting help.  Maybe this time, this year, people will listen.  Know this has been something very dear to your heart all these years.

        When people make it easy for the homeless, they are not helping.  And, then, think of all the ones who have come to Redding because the “word” has gotten out how great a place to be for the free stuff.

        Bless you for having the soapbox to scream the need.  And, more to the fact, you do use it.

      • Avatar Alissa says:

        Thanks so much Doni. I am going to reach out to Randy Smith. I have also been in touch with Providence who told me to check out 211. I’m excited to get working.

  44. Avatar Barb says:


    Providence = cronyism and good ole boys making money off of the backs of those they purport to support.

    Feel free to private message me for dialog.