The Orange County Public Works (OCPW) department has begun posting notices informing the homeless living in illegal encampments along the Santa Ana River by the Honda Center will have to leave by July 17.
According to the notice, OCPW will be “conducting maintenance and/or flood control project activities in this section of Flood Control District property” and will install “permanent security fencing and a gate to control access” to the this section of the river bank from Katella Avenue to the railroad bridge located 2,300 feet upstream.
As is the case with all the homeless encampments along the Santa Ana River, adjacent business and neighborhoods have been suffering an serious increase in crime. The Honda Center, for example, has had property stolen by camp denizens, who also heave trash over the fence into the Honda Center parking lot – trash that contains hypodermic needles and other unsanitary objects. This has prompted complaints from Honda Center employees who understandably are reluctant to touch this refuse.
This writer drove up to a wing of the encampment a few weeks ago to take a photo and was threatened with violence by one of the residents.
As it did when the first big Santa Ana River encampment was evicted earlier this year, the County will store the property of encampment residents for 90-days. This time around it will be at the “Big A Storage Site” -next to the main encampment downriver. The homeless left behind a mountain of debris and detritus during the previous eviction. The ACLU sued to force the County to store all this “property” for three months – and at the end of that period not a single piece of “property” was claimed.
The County appears to have learned from that embarrassing experience: the notice warns the “following items are subject to immediate disposal without being stored: (1) trash (ii) items that are objectively determined to be intentionally abandoned by the owners and (iii) items that would present a potential health hazard to store.” That would have covered 90% of the stuff left strewn in the wake of the earlier encampment eviction. Hopefully, this time around, county taxpayers won’t have to foot the bill for bagging, tagging, storing and guarding a small mountain of unwanted junk.