Santa Rosa, CA – May 22, 2018 – Beginning Wednesday, May 30, 2018, the County of Sonoma in collaboration with the City of Santa Rosa will temporarily close the section of the Joe Rodota Trail (JRT) from Roseland Avenue to Dutton Avenue to remove unlawful encampments and reestablish a safe and clean environment for all trail visitors. The effort is anticipated to last two days, after which the County will reopen the closed section of the JRT for recreational trail use. During the temporary closure, signs will be posted clearly marking the closed areas. Additionally, Sonoma County Regional Parks is encouraging users to avoid that section of the trail and posted alternate route signs on the trail Friday, May 18.
“The County is committed to providing exceptional services to our community, and that means connecting people who are homeless with programs to help them find housing, and restoring the safe and clean atmosphere of the trail for all users,” said Supervisor Lynda Hopkins.
The trail closure is necessary to address the environmental impacts of unauthorized encampments, including removal of trash and bio-hazardous materials (e.g., used syringes, food waste, human and animal waste). During the operations, the project area will be closed to the public in order to accommodate the safe operation of heavy equipment and the efficient completion of necessary work.
Occupants of the encampments have been informed of the upcoming closure, and have been regularly offered services and shelter. Individuals who are illegally encamped in the area are being be asked to voluntarily relocate from the project area beginning May 30, 2018. Signage of the timeline of the trail closure will be posted on May 23, 2018 for the public and occupants of the encampment.
Santa Rosa Police Department, Sonoma County Regional Parks and the Sonoma County Community Development Commission through its service provider partners, including the Homeless Outreach Services Team (HOST), will coordinate closely to facilitate access to services and shelter that are responsive to each individual’s needs and ultimately provide a path to permanent stable housing. There is sufficient capacity in the homeless system of care to safely shelter or house all encampment occupants. Additionally, Sonoma County Regional Parks will store all the personal property of occupants who are relocating, if requested, for up to 60 days.
Occupants who remain encamped in the project area after May 30, 2018 will be subject to citation for violation of state and local laws including those that prohibit trespassing and illegal camping.
These actions are being undertaken as part of a joint effort by the County of Sonoma and the City of Santa Rosa.