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For Immediate Release
Joe Rodota Trail temporarily closed to relocate homeless camps and remove safety hazards
Santa Rosa, CA | January 20, 2023
A section of Joe Rodota Trail, which runs alongside Highway 12 between Santa Rosa and Sebastopol, was closed this afternoon to remove homeless camps and safety hazards along the popular bike and pedestrian path.
Sonoma County Regional Parks erected fencing Friday afternoon to close the trail between Hampton Way and Dutton Avenue in Santa Rosa after county staff offered alternative shelter to individuals camped along the trail. Regional Parks is working to reopen the trail by Friday, Jan. 27 after the county moves individuals who have accepted alternative shelter to their new locations and cleanup crews have ensured the trail is free of debris and hazardous materials.
The trail was closed due to concerns about the encampments’ impact on the safety of people using the pathway as well as the health and environmental hazards created by the encampments. By law, county officials must offer alternative shelter to individuals camping on public property before an encampment can be cleared, if the individuals do not have the means to sleep elsewhere.
Approximately 30 people were camped along the trail Friday. Staff from the Sonoma County Department of Health Services’ Homelessness Services Division have been working to identify available shelter space at various locations to accommodate each person in the encampments. On Jan. 19, the Homeless Encampment Access & Resource Team (HEART Team) began the process of determining what shelter was available and later started offering shelter to all individuals at the predominant encampment along the trail. The team will begin moving individuals to shelter locations this coming week and will continue to provide assistance until the encampments are cleared.
Individuals who opt for the alternative shelters will receive assistance from county staff to relocate their belongings. Spanish-speaking staff have been on site and are assisting individuals at the encampments.
Those individuals who choose not to relocate began receiving notices today to vacate by 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 24, as required by law. They are not required to accept the alternative shelter offered by the county but are required to clear their belongings and move off county property.
Once all encampment residents have been relocated, Sonoma County Regional Parks will begin cleaning up the surrounding area. Parks staff anticipate reopening the trail within three days after all camp residents have been relocated. Fencing will temporarily remain in place to facilitate the necessary cleanup work and prevent other encampments from forming along the trail.
The Joe Rodota Trail is an 8.5-mile paved commuter trail linking downtown Santa Rosa and Sebastopol. Managed by Sonoma County Regional Parks, the trail is used by hundreds of cyclists, walkers and runners each day. For an alternative route during the closure, bicyclists and pedestrians may take Santa Rosa Creek Trail between Stony Point Road and Dutton Avenue.
Paul Gullixson, Communications Manager
575 Administration Drive, Suite 104A
Santa Rosa, CA 95403