San Francisco

25 boulders from unknown source appear on Clinton Park sidewalk in apparent anti-encampment measure

Hoodline tipster Adam N. alerted us that boulders were recently placed on Clinton Park's (between Dolores and Guerrero) sidewalk, adjacent to Pet Food Express' parking lot and back wall. Adam said they appeared almost two weeks ago, but it was not immediately clear who put them there.

A Hoodline reporter who visited the location earlier this week found 25 boulders placed between trees close to the curb. A resident who stated that he lives there, but preferred to stay anonymous, told Hoodline that the boulders were put in place due to an ongoing issue with homeless encampments.

The Clinton Park resident added that they often hear people screaming outside their windows in the middle of the night and residences across the street from where the boulders are now placed were broken into. The resident wasn't sure who put up the boulders.

311 data reveals that about 300 reports for homeless encampments on that stretch of Clinton Park were filed since the beginning of the year, as well as about 200 requests for street and sidewalk cleaning. Most requests were filed in the morning, according to city data.

That compares to about 140 reports for encampments and 200 street and sidewalk cleaning requests in 2018. In 2017, only about 80 reports for encampments and 160 street and sidewalk cleaning requests were filed.

Police incident reports for this year show one forcible entry into a building and one burglary including unlawful entry into an apartment house since January. The reports do not indicate if there was a connection with homeless encampments.

When reached on the phone, Public Works spokesperson Rachel Gordon said she believes the city is not responsible for putting up the boulders on Clinton Park. It wasn’t immediately clear if someone else got permission to install them on the public sidewalk, but we have requested more details from Public Works and will update the story if we learn more.

Hoodline tipster Adam said that he doesn’t believe the boulders are the right way to approach the issue. When reached via phone, Coalition on Homelessness policy director Sam Lew agreed. Lew said she has seen similar installations in other parts of San Francisco. She said she believes it’s the opposite of addressing the situation in a humane way. She suggested using the money spent on the boulders to invest “in real solutions like housing, mental health services, and shelter.”

A manager of Pet Food Express, who preferred not to give us his name, said that employees of the pet store hose down the Clinton Park sidewalk behind their building almost every evening in order to keep it clean. He didn't know how successful the boulders are — he said the homeless encampments are mostly there during the night and he comes in in the morning. The manager wasn't sure who put up the boulders either.

It's not the first time efforts were made to move homeless encampments from a sidewalk in the area. As we previously reportedSan Francisco Public Works, at the beginning of 2018, placed metal barricades nearby on the sidewalk on the north side of Market Street between Church and Reservoir to prevent people from sleeping on the sidewalk in front of Safeway.

Earlier this year, Izakaya Sushi Ran in the Castro also made headlines when they painted a large rock in front of their windows just a few blocks from Clinton Park with the colors of the pride flag, while some suspected that the rock was placed there to keep homeless individuals from sleeping there. However, it later turned out that this particular rock was not installed with the intention to prevent people from sleeping there.

Thanks to tipster Adam N.! See something interesting while you’re out and about? Text Hoodline and we’ll try to find out what's going on: (415) 200-3233.

Clinton Park, San Francisco, California 94103, United States, San Francisco, California, 94103, United States, San Francisco, CA

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